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We should feel safe at a police station

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) is outraged by the way Kogee Sinniah was reportedly treated at a police station. We are appalled that the police officer had reportedly instructed her to “talk nicely” and even checked out what she was wearing, instead of coming to her aid in moments of crisis and distress. This shows an utter lack of empathy and compassion.

City police chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim has commented that “her request may have been miscommunicated following her emotional state”. It is precisely because of the distress that victims experience, that police officers need to be trained to be sensitive.

Bukit Aman must investigate the handling of this case, and ensure that everyone who seeks refuge at a police station receives the protection they are entitled to. It is the police’s duty to protect the public, and they must act with respect, empathy and compassion. If we can’t feel safe at a police station, then the government has failed us in protecting us. If we can’t trust the public institution mandated to protect us, where do we go?

We also urge the government to make stalking a crime. Kogee Sinniah’s experience shows how strongly stalking can affect someone. Yet, stalking is not a crime in Malaysia. Current laws are deeply inadequate. Many other countries have recognised stalking as a problem, and have provided special protection against stalking in the law. Malaysia must follow suit and make stalking a crime.

We thank Kogee Sinniah for bravely speaking up, and we hope that this incident never happens again.


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