Friday, November 9, 2007

Police and Your Rights- The Red Book

***Long post with guidelines of your rights***

The Police Force, I am sure that all of you have your own share of stories and opinion regarding the Police Force in Malaysia. Some bad and perhaps some good.

There are a lot of cases where people being cheated by fake policemen or people pretending to be policemen just because they don't know their rights. This to the extend where all sorts of criminal deeds done just because that the publics' fear of the Police even though they are fakes.

In Kuching alone, I heard many rape cases happened because of this and it is always at the same place. The compound or area of the Sarawak Museum. Always the same story, where there is a couple who can't wait to profess love for each other in a fleshy manner being confronted by a few so-called "policemen", fake or otherwise I wouldn't know. Then they demand that the girl be brought to the police station and that the guy to just leave.

Your guess of what happens next is as good as mine. Then the girl is taken to somewhere secluded and gang-raped. That is just a real life example of things that can happen if the people don't know their rights.

Heck, some are even mistreated by the real Police and they don't even know it due to the fact that they don't even know their rights.

The people have to be educated on their rights in order to be able to differentiate when is the rights being violated and can hope to have justice done.

That is why the Malaysia Bar Council has launched a Red Book or known as "Buku Merah" in Bahasa Malaysia. The title is Police and Your Rights or in Bahasa Malaysia is known as "Polis dan Hak Hak Asasi Anda". This is in the effort to educate the public of their rights when faced with the Police.

The Red Book is written by a group of dedicated lawyers that is called TANGKAP (In English means CATCH) and it aims to create awareness by providing easy guidelines in order to ensure that the everyone knows their rights.


***The following information are taken from the Red Book***


1.1 Not in uniform, ask for identification- the authority card
Ask for authority card by saying, "Please, show me your Police authority card"

1.2 Police Authority Card
Red color: Suspended Police Officer. He has no authority to do anything to you.
Walk away.
Blue color: Rank of Inspector and Above
Yellow color: Below the rank of Inspector
White color: Police Reserve

Note his name and ID number

1.3 In uniform
Note his name and ID number on his uniform

1.4 Police vehicle
Note the number plate of the patrol car or motorcycle


2.1 Your identification
Only give your name, ID card number and address.

2.2 The Police ask other questions
Politely ask "Am I under arrest?"

2.3 When are you under arrest
You are arrested if the Police: tell you "yes"; do not allow you to leave/want to take you to the Police station; or handcuff you.

If you are not under arrest, you may walk away/refuse to follow him back to the police station or anywhere else, if asked.

2.4 When you cannot be arrested
The police cannot arrest you just because you are a potential witness and want to take a statement from you. (112/Witness Statement)


3.1 112/Witness Statement
When the Police are investigating a case and think you have information/knowledge about the case, the police may examine you and take down your answers. (112/Witness Statement)

3.2 Informal/Formal Request
Most times, the Police make an informal request that you give a 112/Witness Statement. If the place and time is convenient to you, cooperate. If not, tell the Police you will do so at a convenient place and time.

If you completely refuse to cooperate, the Police can issue a formal order in writing signed by an investigating officer (Police Order) to ask you to cooperate.

If you disobey a Police Order, you cannot be arrested. However, it is an offense and the Police may request the Magistrate to issue a warrant against you to compel you to cooperate.

3.3 Giving a 112/Witness Statement
You have the right to ask a lawyer to accompany you. This is advisable.

In giving a 112/Witness Statement, you may refuse to answer any question/ remain silent if the answer is likely to expose you to a criminal charge.

Bring along a notebook and writing paper with you (Personal Notes).

Write down every question asked in your Personal Notes

Make sure you understand every question asked.

Take your time and think carefully before writing your answers in your personal notes.

Read your answers to the Police Officer questioning you and keep your Personal Notes for future reference.

3.4 Signing your 112/Witness Statement
Before signing your statement, read the questions and your answers written by the Police Officer carefully.

Compare the statement you are asked to sign with your Personal Notes, you have the right to make any corrections/changes to the statement before signing.

Sign your signature immediately below the last sentence of your statement.


4.1 Ask: "Why am I under arrest?"
An arrest is unlawful if you are not informed of the reason.

4.2 Do not resist an arrest
The Police have the right to use reasonable force to arrest you if you resist.

4.3 Ask: Which Police station are you taking me to?"
The arresting Police Officer must immediately take you to the nearest Police station and no other place.

4.4 What to do when arrested
You have the right to make a telephone call.

Call your family or friend or lawyer or the legal aid center (LAC).

Inform saying that you have been arrested, the time, place and reason for the arrest, the identity of the Police Officer, and the Police Station you are taken to.

4.5 What happens after arrest
You may be detained up to 24 hours at a police station or in a lock up to "assist" Police investigation.


5.1 Right to contact lawyer
You have the right and should insist to contact/see your lawyer.

5.2 Clothing
You are allowed to have one set of clothing on you in lockup.

5.3 Personal belongings
The police must record and put all your personal belongingsd in safe custody and your personal belongings must be returned to you upon your release.

5.4 Welfare
You are allowed to take bath two times a day.
If you are sick, you have the right to receive immediate medical attention.
You are to be given proper and adequate food and water during detention.

5.5 How long can the Police detain you.
The police can only detain you up to 24 hours for investigation.

The duty of the police is to complete the investigation within 24 hours and to release you as soon as possible.

If the Police cannot complete the investigation within 24 hours, the Police must bring you before a Magistrate for a remand order to extend your detention beyond 24 hours (Remand Order).


6.1 Who is a Magistrate
A Magistrate is a judicial officer. He/She has power to make a Remand Order to detain you for more than 24 hours.

6.2 Purpose of a Remand Order
To give more time to the Police to complete their investigation and decide whether there is evidence to charge you.

The Police cannot ask for a Remand Order only for the purpose of taking statement from you.

6.3 How long is the Remand Order
When the Police bring you before a Magistrate or a Remand Order, the Police must give reasons to the Magistrate why it is necessary to detain you beyond 24 hours. The Magistrate's duty is to consider carefully the reasons given by the Police.

The Police will usually ask for a further detention of 14 days or less.

The Magistrate, after careful consideration of the reasons given by the Police, has discretion:not to make a Remand Order; or Make a Remand Order for a period shorter than that asked by the Police.

The Police can make more than one application for a Remand Order. Altogether you cannot be detained longer than 15 days.

6.4 What to say when you are brought before a Magistrate for remand
Tell the Magistrate:
You want legal representation and to contact the LAC and your family.

You want medical treatment because you are sick or have been beaten;

If the police had threaten or beaten you during your detention;

If you had been denied proper food/water/clothing, toilet or necessary medical attention during your detention.

Whether the Police had carried out any investigation during your detention.

6.5 Ask for a shorter Remand Order from the Magistrate
Before the Magistrate makes the Remand Order, ask for a shorter remand period asked by the Police. Give reasons. (Example: I will cooperate with the Police in their investigation, I will be available. etc)


7.1 When can this be done
If you are at a place (example: karaoke/clubs/entertainment outlets) where the Police are conducting raids or looking for something. (example: drugs), the Police may search your body/bags without arresting you.

This must be done in the presence of a Police Officer who is an inspector or of a higher rank.

7.2 What to do
Do not allow the Police Officer to put his hands into your pockets or bags.

Volunteer to empty your pockets/bags in his presence so you can see all your belongings.

Take out your belongings one by one. Each time, say "Purse", "Keys", "ID card", etc.

When your pockets/bags are empty, turn your pockets/bags inside out.

7.3 Your rights
A female can only be body searched by a female Police Officer.

All body searches must be carried out with decency (Example: cannot touch your private parts).

There is no law requiring you to strip naked.


8.1 When Police can do so
The Police have power to search your body for any object relating to the suspected charge.

The body search must be conducted in a confined place. It is your right to be bodily searched in private.

8.2 Strip Search
Even when arrested, there is no law allowing the Police to force you to strip naked.

If you are forced to strip naked/ threatened if you do not strip naked: Protest, Remember the Police Officer's name, Lodge a report after the incident.


9.1 Identity of the Police Officer questioning you
Note the name/rank of the Police Officer questioning you

9.2 Right to remain silent
The Police Officer will first make friendly conversation/talk (example: ask you about your family and friends, etc). Be polite. Do not afraid to remain silent. That is your right

9.3 Police want a written statement (133 Statement) from you
The Police Officer will ask you questions and then write down your answers. You are only obliged to give your full name, age, address, and occupation
(Personal Particulars)

Other than giving your Personal Particulars, you have the right to remain silent.

If you choose the right to remain silent, say, "I will answer in Court".

9.4 Police cannot force you to make a 113 statement
After giving your Personal Particulars, and the Police Officer wants you to say more things by threatening or forcing you into making a written statement: Stay calm and remain silent.

The Police Officer has no right to threaten, beat or force you into making a written statement.

If you have been threatened, beaten or forced, lodge a police report against the Police Officer at first opportunity. This is your right.

9.5 If you wish to give a 113 statement
Follow the steps in paragraph 3.3 and 3.4 above.

If you do not have a noteboo0k/writing paper, request from the Police Officer.

Your 113 Statement can/will be used as evidence against you in Court to prove:
You have admitted/confessed to the criminal charge as charged; or You have admitted/confessed certain facts that tend to show you are guilty of the criminal as charged.

That is about all of the guidelines.

It is also available in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, English, Tamil.

Click to download the pdf.


  1. malaysian law enforcers are seriously .. screwed .. :x the older i get, the more it disturbs me. *frustrates* everything seemed so peaceful on the outside, yet so messed up in the inside. *sighs* god help us .. oh wait, should be .. PM help us .. ?? no offence. hehe. :p

  2. I am not a fan of the police~~ I always think of them as corrupt.

  3. Wow..There's so much to arrests and searches huh..Cool info bro..Really cool..Interesting read..

  4. Nowadays, policemen also cannot trust one..

    Anyway, thanks for the information..

  5. levian: Well, not all are that bad. I still believe that there are those who are good. However forced by condition such as IF the higher ups are bad, the lower down cant do anything also or risk being framed.

    I doubt the PM would be of any help.. =p

    宝茹: Not all are corrupt but it has been generalized as such. Looks like a rotten apple does makes the while basket of apples bad.

    Sriram: Yeah, welcome.

    keeyit: No prob. Everyone should know their rights.

  6. wah! really is good and informative..however, when come to the real situation and u really question ur right, i think u will be in more trouble if those police are not in good mood..well, we are in malaysia u know...


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