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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 10:46 GMT
Malaysia police warned on abuse
By Jonathan Kent
BBC correspondent in Kuala Lumpur

Grab from video apparently showing prisoner abuse
A video of police humiliating a woman caused outrage
Malaysia's top police officer has given his senior colleagues a public dressing down over their lack of awareness of human rights.

Inspector General Bakri Omar told district police chiefs they should quit if they could not grasp the concept.

"We don't want stupid officers," Bakri Omar said.

The force has faced a barrage of public criticism in recent months following several high profile incidents in which detainees have been abused.

Mr Bakri was speaking to a human rights seminar attended by 145 district commanders, who listened in stunned silence as he singled out the head of one particular station for a telling off.

Officers based at Kajang, near Kuala Lumpur, had prompted public outrage after they arrested and shaved the heads of 11 elderly Malaysian Chinese men for gambling at mah-jong during Chinese New Year.

Tough line

The police chief said he had been forced to apologise on their behalf, and that it was not an isolated incident.

Late last year, a video showing a naked woman being humiliated at a different police station provoked a fierce debate in Malaysia.

Mr Bakri's tough line, stressing good management and human rights, will serve to reinforce the government's message that it is serious about reforming the police.

However, doubts have been expressed whether Mr Bakri's likely successors share his enthusiasm for change.

His deputy recently said that most of the recommendations made last year by a government commission on police reform had been implemented ahead of schedule.

That suggestion has been greeted with considerable scepticism by civil liberties groups.

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