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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 August, 2004, 03:39 GMT 04:39 UK
Malaysia police 'brutal, corrupt'
By Jonathan Kent
BBC correspondent, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysians have taken to the streets to denounce violent police methods
The head of a commission inquiry into the Malaysian police says his panel has been inundated with allegations of corruption and brutality.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi says he wants immediate action to put the commission's proposals into effect, once it issues its full report next February.

Mr Abdullah has made eliminating corruption a centrepiece of his plans.

He ordered a royal commission to be set up to look into the management and workings of the police shortly after coming to power in October.

Least-trusted body

After 26 public hearings around the country and a series of consultations, it has submitted its preliminary findings.

The commission's chairman, Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, said complainants had repeatedly alleged rampant corruption in the force's traffic, commercial crimes, narcotics and internal investigation divisions.

The commission had also uncovered evidence that excessive force had been used against detainees, he said, adding that he and his colleagues will be investigating a number of deaths in police custody.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
PM Abdullah Badawi has demanded swift action
In the police's defence, Mr Dzaiddin said they were hampered by a lack of money, personnel and equipment.

The commission's assessment is likely to chime with the public.

Many people report being asked for bribes by officers while others allege that police effectively operate a shoot-to-kill policy.

Local media consistently report gun battles involving the police ending with all of the suspects being killed, but without any officers being injured.

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