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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 10:48 GMT
Malaysia launches video enquiry
Grab from video apparently showing prisoner abuse

Malaysia has launched an inquiry into a video which shows an ethnic Chinese woman being forced to perform naked squats in a Malaysian police station.

The five-member panel will be headed by a retired judge and will also include three government officials and a lawyer.

All five belonged to a royal commission set up by the Malaysian prime minister in 2003 to improve the police force .

The video has shocked Malaysia and sparked complaints from China.

"There is an uproar so we want to know what happened," said Malaysia's Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi.

The panel, led by former Chief Justice Dzaiddin Abdullah, has been given 30 days from the time the members receive their appointment letters, to submit its report.

The police force has said that forcing detainees to strip and squat is standard procedure in order to dislodge any concealed items.

The inquiry panel has been given four areas to investigate, according to The Star newspaper:

  • Work out whether the woman in the video was one of five Chinese nationals who were detained by the police
  • Investigate the handling of the body search of the woman in the video
  • Decide whether this body search was inappropriate
  • Investigate the standard procedure regarding body searches

One of the panel members, former Bar Council chairman Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari, told The Star that he and his new colleagues were well placed to make a judgement on the incident.

"As we are all well-versed with police procedures from our experience in the royal commission, our job will be much easier," he said.

The identity of the woman in the video, which was captured on mobile phone, has not been publicly released.

It has not been clear whether she is a Malaysian citizen of Chinese ethnicity or a Chinese tourist.

Stories of Chinese tourists being abused by the Malaysian police have been widely reported in China.

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