Notes of Meeting with the Chief of Police of Kuala Lumpur on 18.02.2011

The KL Bar Criminal Practice Committee and representatives from the KL Legal Aid Centre paid a Courtesy Call on the Chief of Police of Kuala Lumpur, Dato’ Pahlawan Zulkifli Abdullah on 18.02.2011 at 3.30pm

Apart from making acquaintance, the Committee took the opportunity to raise the following issues:-

1. The legal aid programme

The Committee explained that one of the main components of the legal aid programme is the Dock Brief Project whereby pupils are encouraged, under supervision, to assist accused persons in highlighting their requests, including bail issues and participate in the sentencing process. This assistance is done without charge or on pro bono basis.

Despite the existence of this assistance there exist sinister elements in the form of touts whereby these touts prey on the uninformed members of the public giving all sorts of promises and at the same time making veiled threats to the pupils. The existence of the touts poses serious problems to the Dock Brief and as such the police are requested to take action including making arrest and consider prosecuting under the Minor Offences Act.

The Chief of Police (CPO) has taken note of this issue and will take serious steps to curb the touts menace.

2. Remand process of a child

The Committee highlighted that under the Child Act, any child that is undergoing a remand process must be brought to the Court using an entrance different from that used by adult suspects. Although the Committee appreciates the logistical issues, this requirement must be adhered to in safeguarding the welfare of the child concerned.

The CPO has assured the Committee that this concern will be seriously looked into.

3. Break-in of cars at the car park at the KL Court Complex

The Committee also highlighted that incidents of break-in of cars at the KL Court Complex car park are on the rise especially during the hours from 9am to 12pm resulting in great losses (including important documents and files) to the lawyers. Request was made for increase of police patrol at the said car park during these hours to deter the would-be offenders.

The CPO will take appropriate steps to increase the patrolling at the car park during the hours of 9am to 12pm on weekdays.

4. Compliance with Section 28A of the CPC

The Committee highlighted that many a time there was no conducive environment for lawyers to effectively meet with their clients. At times there are barriers in communication in the form of separators (grille or glass) which makes the communication process less effective. It was suggested that lawyers should be able to meet with their clients unhindered by barriers, in compliance with the letter and intent of section 28A of the CPC.

The CPO has assured that the police would comply with section 28A of the CPC.

5. Request for public car park at police stations for public easy access

The Committee raised the issue of unavailability of car park for the public at police stations making it difficult for the members of the public visiting the police stations. It was suggested that a few parking bays be designated at police stations for the public, in particular to cater for the elderly, the physically challenged and those needing special assistance.

The CPO, whilst taking note of this issue, stated that there would be some logistical constraints but assured the Committee that this request will be looked into favourably.

6. Rise of commercial crimes

The Committee also brought to the attention of the CPO the rise in the number of commercial crimes especially in the areas of work of lawyers such as falsification of stamping of stamp duties where it may involve syndicates and requested that this matter should be looked into seriously.

The CPO requested for a compilation of reports involving this aspect of crime so that action could be taken. The CPO also raised the issue that this crime may involve lawyers and the Committee suggested that a thorough investigation be carried out and that assistance can be sought from conveyancing lawyers.

The Committee and the CPO have agreed to work closely to serve the interest of the members of the KL Bar and also that of the public.
The meeting ended at 4.30pm with thanks from both sides.
Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu
KL Bar Criminal Practice Committee