A series of tweets posted by a woman on 12 February 2021 claimed that she had been sexually harassed by a police officer at a roadblock on Jalan Duta. She claimed that the policeman had accused her of not wearing a bra and threatened her with summons, and even insisted on exchanging contact numbers with her.
She has since deleted her Twitter account after her thread went viral. The policeman who allegedly asked the Twitter user to expose her breasts at a roadblock, however, has been identified by investigators. Federal police Integrity and Standards Compliance Department (JIPS) director Comm Datuk Zamri Yahya said that he has been relieved of roadblock duty after given his own account of the incident.
The viral case sparked conversations nationwide, especially about what rights we have as civilians if we would come across the same alleged incident. Also, what do we need to remember to jot down in order to make a thorough police report?
Not carrying a driving licence with you doesn’t warrant an arrest
“If a road user cannot produce their driving license but have their identity card on them, a summons can be issued,” said Prof Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal, a law lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
However, road users cannot be arrested because “this is not a crime that warrants an arrest”. The professor also stated that the officer in charge should not be allowed to ask for your phone number.
Remember to write down the officer’s name and ID number
Noor Aziah advises road users to “note down where it happened, the name and identification number on their uniform”. She then advises you to quickly lodge a police report. If the police department doesn’t seem to be picking up their phone, police stations will still be open—even during the MCO. You can search for your nearest police station on Google Maps.
“Women must practice vigilance in whatever situation they are in and remember that sexual harassment can happen to anyone and anywhere,” said Noor Aziah.
She added that if a policeman threatens arrest or demand “payment” in the form of sexual favours, action could be taken against them under Section 509 or 354 of the Penal Code.
You should not post your accusations on social media
According to Noor Aziah, the Twitter user should not have posted her ordeal on social media and subjected the policeman to public judgement before he had a chance to defend himself. If she failed to produce enough evidence, she could face legal action.
However, it would be a different case if the police was found guilty. Noor Aziah added that “the law would ensure that the abuse of power would not go unpunished”.
It’s a shame that any of us have to prepare ourselves in case a police officer breaks the SOP and takes advantage of their power. Let’s hope you won’t have to resort to remembering what rights you have at a roadblock, but I hope this could still help you keep safe from further harm.
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