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Saturday, March 7, 2009

RED BOOK: Know Your Rights


1.1 Not in uniform, ask for identification

Say: “Please, show me your Police authority card”.

1.2 Police authority card

Red : Suspended Police Officer. He has no authority to do anything
to you. Walk away.
Other colours:
Blue : Rank of Inspector and above
Yellow: Below the rank of Inspector
White : Reserve police

Note his name and ID number

1.3 In uniform

Note his name and ID number on his uniform.

1.4 Police vehicle

Note the number plate of the patrol car or motorcycle.


2.1 Your identification

Only give your name, ID card number and address.

2.2 The police ask other questions

Politely ask “Am I under arrest?”

2.3 When you are under arrest

You are arrested if the police:
• tells you “yes”;
• does not allow you to leave/want to take you to the Police Station;
• handcuffs you
if you are not under arrest, you may walk away/refuse to follow him back
to the Police station or anywhere else, if asked.

2.4 When you cannot be arrested

The police cannot arrest you just because you are a potential witness
and want to take a statement from you (112/Witness Statement).


3.1 112/Witness Statement

When the police are investigating a case and think you have
information/knowledge about the case, the police may examine you
and take down your answers (112/Witness Statement).

3.2 Informal/Formal Request

Most times, the police make an informal request that you give a 112/
Witness Statement;

  • If the place and time is convenient to you, cooperate. If not, tell the police you will do so at a convenient place
  • If you completely refuse to cooperate, the police can issue a formal order in writing, signed by an investigating officer (Police Officer) to ask you to cooperate.
  • If you disobey a Police Order, you cannot be arrested. However, it is an offence and the police may request the Magistrate to issue a warrant against you to compel you to cooperate.

3.3 Giving a 112/Witness Statement

You have the right to ask a lawyer to accompany you. This is advisable.
In giving a 112/Witness Statement, you may refuse to answer any
question / remain silent if the answer is likely to expose you to a
criminal offence.

• Bring along a notebook or writing paper with you (Personal
• Write down every question asked in your Personal Notes.
• Make sure you understand every question asked.
• Take your time and think carefully before writing your answers in
your Personal Notes.
• Read your answers to the Police Officer questioning you.
• Keep your Personal Notes for future reference.

3.4 Signing your 112/Witness Statement

Before signing your statement, read the questions and your answers
written by the Police Officer carefully.
• Compare the statement you are asked to sign with your Personal
• You have the right to make any corrections/changes to the
statement before signing.
• Sign your signature immediately below the last sentence of your


4.1 Ask: “Why am I under arrest?”

An arrest is unlawful if you are not informed of the reason.

4.2 Do not resist an arrest

The Police have the right to use reasonable force to arrest you if you

4.3 Ask: “Which Police station are you taking me to?”

The arresting Police Officer must immediately take you to the nearest
Police station and no other place.

4.4 What to do when arrested

You have the right to telephone call top :-
1. Relatives;
2. Lawyer
You may also call a nearby Legal Aid Centre. Inform them:
• you have been arrested;
• the time, place and reason of the arrest;
• the Police station you will be taken to

4.5 What happens after arrest
You may be detained up to 24 hours:
• at the Police station, or
• in a lock-up to “assist” police investigation.


5.1 Right to consult a lawyer

Once you request for the presence of a lawyer, you have a right to
consult the lawyer at the Police Station. The Police must accord
you a reasonable period of time for the lawyer to meet you and for
consultation to take place. The Police can, however, deny you this
right, if the delay in questioning you may cause the occurrence of
another crime or cause danger to others.

5.2 Clothing
  • You are allowed to have one set of clothing on you in the lock-up.

5.3 Personal belongings
  • The police must record and put all your personal belongings in safe custody.
  • Your personal belongings must be returned to you upon your release.

5.4 Welfare
  • You are allowed to take bath two times a day.
  • If you are sick, you have the right to receive immediate medical attention.
  • You are to be given proper and adequate food and water during detention.

5.5 How long can the Police detain you
  • The police can only detain you up to 24 hours for investigation.
  • The duty of the police is to complete investigation within 24 hours and to release you as soon as possible.
  • If the police cannot complete investigation within 24 hours, thepolice must bring you before a Magistrate far a remand order toextend your detention beyond 24 hours (“Remand Order”).


6.1 Who is a Magistrate

  • A Magistrate is a judicial officer. He/She has power to make a
  • Remand Order to detain you for more than 24 hours.
6.2 Purpose of Remand Order

It is to give more time to the Police to complete their investigation
and decide whether there is evidence to charge you for an offence.
The Police cannot ask for a Remand Order only for the purpose of
taking a statement from you.

6.3 How long is a Remand Order
  • When the Police bring you before a Magistrate for a Remand Order, the
  • Police must give reasons to the Magistrate why it is necessary to detain
  • you beyond 24 hours.
  • The Magistrate’s duty is to consider carefully the reasons given by the Police.
  • The Magistrate may order a Remand detention of between 4 to 7 days.
  • The Police may return at the expiration of this time period and apply for a 2nd Remand Order. For this 2nd Order, the Magistrate may extend thedetention for another 3 to 7 days.
  • The Magistrate, after careful consideration of the reasons given by the Police, has discretion: (a) not to make a Remand Order; or (b) make a Remand Order for a period shorter than that asked by the Police.
  • The Police can make more than one application for a Remand Order.
Altogether, you cannot be detained longer than 15 days.

6.4 What to say when you are brought before a Magistrate for remand

Tell the Magistrate:
• you want legal representation and to contact the LAC and your family;
• you want medical treatment because you are sick or have been beaten;
• if the Police had threatened or beaten you during detention;
• if you had been denied proper food/water/clothing, toilet or necessary medical attention during your detention;
• whether the Police had carried out any investigation during your detention.

6.5 Ask for a shorter Remand Order from the Magistrate

Before the Magistrate makes the Remand Order, ask for a shorter
remand period asked by the Police. Give reasons (Example: “I will cooperate
with the Police in their investigation”, “I will be available” etc).


7.1 When can this be done

  • If you are at a place (example: karaoke/clubs/entertainment outlets) where the Police are conducting a raid or looking for something (example: drugs), the Police may search your body/bags without arresting you.
  • This must be done in the presence of a Police Officer who is an inspector or of a higher rank.
7.2 What to do

• Do not allow the Police officer to put his hands into your pockets or bags.
• Take out your belongings one by one. Each time, say “Purse”, “keys”, “ID card”, etc.
• When your pockets/bags are empty, turn your pockets/bags inside out.

7.3 Your rights

• A female can only be body searched by a female Police Officer.
• All body searches must be carried out with decency (Example: cannot touch your private parts).
• There is no law requiring you to strip naked.


8.1 When Police can do so

• The Police have power to search your body for any object relating to the suspected offence.
• The body search must be conducted in a confined place. It is your right to be bodily searched in private.

8.2 Type of Body search

The law allows the Police to conduct 4 types of body search :-
1. “pat down” search - act of searching outer clothing

2. Strip search - to search for concealed evidence, object, contraband or
weapon. Can only conducted with the authorization of an officer
ranked Inspector and above

3. Intimate search - to search beyond the mouth, nose and ears. Can only
be conducted with the authorization of an officer ranked Assistant
Superintendent (ASP) and above

4. Intrusive search - to determine the existence of objects etc in the body.
Must be conducted by Government Medical Officer or Medical
Officer. Can only be conducted with the authority of the Officer in
charge of the Police District (OCPD)

If you are forced to strip naked/threatened if you do not strip naked:
• Protest
• Remember the Police Officer’s name.
• Lodge a report after the incident.


9.1 Identity of the Police Officer questioning you

Note the name/rank of the Police Officer questioning you.

9.2 Right to remain silent
  • The Police Officer will first make friendly conversation/talk (example: ask you about your family and friends etc). Be polite. Do not be afraid to remain silent. This is your right. Other than giving your Personal Particulars, you have the right to remain silent.
  • If you choose the right to remain silent, say: “I will answer in Court”.
9.3 Written Statement by you during investigation

  • The Police Officer will ask you questions and then write down your answers. You are only obliged to give your full name, age, address and occupation (Personal Particulars).
  • The Police cannot threaten or force you into making statements.
  • If you have been threatened, beaten or forced, lodge a police report against the Police Officer at first opportunity. This is your right.

9.5 Written statement is not to be used as evidence

Any statement you make to the Police during investigation cannot be used
as evidence. But you may use the statement to support your defence during

Published in conjunction with TANGKAP
(Tindakan Anti PenyalahGunaan KuAsa Polis)

• Kuala Lumpur : 03-2691 3005 / 03-2693 2072
• Selangor : 03-3372 2792
• Negeri Sembilan : 06-7633 035
• Melaka : 06-2845 519 / 06-2864 514
• Johor : 07-2235 698
• Perak : 05-2550 523
• Kedah & Perlis : 04-7333 467
• Kelantan : 04-7448 660
• Pahang : 09-5159 244 / 09-2969 410
• Pulau Pinang : 04-2617 451 / 04-3316 830

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