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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 06:07 GMT
Malaysia minister defends police
By Jonathan Kent
BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

Grab from video apparently showing prisoner abuse
The video has provoked outrage in Malaysia and China
The Malaysian minister in charge of the police has said that foreigners who do not like the way his officers behave should leave the country.

Noh Omar's remarks come just days after a video emerged of an ethnic Chinese woman being forced to perform naked squats in a Malaysian police station.

China has protested about the alleged treatment of its citizens.

Far from containing this crisis some politicians and police officers seem determined to make it worse.

If foreigners think that Malaysia police are brutal, please go back to their own countries and not to stay here
Noh Omar

First Malaysia's deputy police chief said it was standard procedure for suspects to be forced to strip and squat repeatedly while holding their ears.

Chinese anger

Now the minister in day-to-day charge of the police has hit out at complainants from overseas.

"If foreigners think that Malaysia police are brutal, please go back to their own countries and not to stay here," Noh Omar told reporters in parliament.

On Monday he told lawmakers that he believed police had followed the rules, seemingly putting him at odds with Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who had announced a full independent inquiry.

The video prompted widespread outrage in Malaysia and the government has distanced itself from Mr Noh's remarks.

But this is becoming increasingly difficult for Mr Abdullah who is sometimes characterised as too nice for the job.

Calls for the deputy police chief and now the deputy internal security minister to be sacked have so far gone unheeded.

On Tuesday the Chinese government stepped in and asked for abusive police officers to be punished, and for its citizens in Malaysia to be properly protected.

Several Chinese women have complained of being humiliated and robbed by Malaysian police officers, and the video footage has lent weight to their stories.

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