23 Apr SET ASIDE ATIPSOM ACT AND RELEASE MONGOLIAN NATIONALS UNDER CUSTODY OVER RAPE CASE
Media Statement by Maria Chin Abdullah and Lim Yi Wei dated 23 April 2020, Petaling Jaya:
We refer to the case where two Mongolian women were allegedly taken to a hotel and raped by a police officer with the rank of Inspector on 10 April 2020 in Petaling Jaya.
We thank our police team, led by PJ deputy police chief Supt Ku Mashariman Ku Mahmood, for the swift rescue of these women on 12 April 2020. We are also thankful for Petaling Jaya OCPD Tn. Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal’s clear statement, which stated while the victims were found to have no valid travel documents and may be involved in the illicit sex trade, in this case they are the victims and stern action based on existing laws will be taken.
With Selangor Criminal Investigations Department (CID) chief Fadzil Ahmat’s statement that investigation papers have been sent to the deputy public prosecutor’s office in Shah Alam this week, there are still questions that remain unanswered, namely:
The detainment of 5 Mongolian women (2 victims and their 3 friends who lodged the report with them) under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrant Act 2007 (“ATIPSOM”)
According to reports as early as 14 April 2020, the 2 victims and 3 friends, who helped lodged the police report with the victims, have been detained under an Interim Protection Order (IPO) in relation to human trafficking. In response, on 15 April, Federal CID chief Comm Datuk Huzir Mohamad said that the 5 women had been placed in a “safe house”, not a lockup.
The Bar Council and 18 NGOs have rightly raised the question of using ATIPSOM instead of the Whistleblower Protection Act (“WPA”) 2010. The WPA would prevent the 5 women from being retained in any form of custody and from unnecessary inquisition into their immigration status. Other than risking their well-being, the continued usage of ATIPSOM may derail the focus of the primary offense, that is rape.
We urge the IPO under ATIPSOM be set aside and the three women should be released. The focus should be on rape investigations and charging the perpetrator without delay. We also note that the Inspector has been recently released on bail. If the alleged perpetrator can be released on bail, victims and whistleblowers should be accorded the same treatment.
Considering that we just celebrated International Women’s Day in March, with April being Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month, we urge that no stone be left unturned and transparency be the order of the day in this investigation. Over the course of the MCO, public sentiment towards the Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM) has been overwhelmingly positive. Many citizens have a newfound appreciation for the police’s hard work in patrolling and manning roadblocks, be it rain or shine. In Petaling Jaya, we have also been fortunate that tackling crime has not taken a backseat, as seen by the arrest of 2 burglary gangs on 20 April 2020.
Due to the MCO’s “one person per car” ruling, more women are travelling alone. While there may be more men in supermarkets these days, we must remember single mothers, single women caring for elderly parents, and women who still travel to work in essential services every day. These women and other vulnerable communities should be able to travel safely at all times, without fear of harassment.
We thank all police officers at the frontlines and urge once again that: (1) the IPO under ATIPSOM be set aside and the 5 Mongolian women be released from custody; (2) the WPA be employed; and (3) transparency into the rape investigations.
Maria Chin Abdullah
Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya
Lim Yi Wei
Selangor State Assemblywoman for Kampung Tunku