'Shoot On Sight' Proposal Gets Mixed Reactions

By Nurunnasihah Ahmad Rashid

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 (Bernama) -- The proposal to allow security forces to 'shoot on sight' any suspicious individuals or intruders encroaching Sabah waters gets mixed reactions from various quarters.

Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association (PPMM) president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said although it could be implemented, standard procedures on that matter should be formulated immediately.

"If the Malaysian Navy and Army are not given permission to shoot, it will be difficult for them to secure the sovereignty of the country. So, I definitely agree with the proposal.

"However, standard procedures, such as giving an early warning shot, must be done first. If they (suspicious intruders) refused to back off, then only the attack and shooting should be done," he told Bernama.

Zainul Rijal said a balance between the need to shoot and the need to ensure the rights of the suspicious intruders should be taken into account so that there would not be any violation of human rights.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Ulama Association President Datuk Sheikh Abdul Halim Abd Kadir said in Islam, to ensure safety of the country from the enemy was deemed 'wajib' or compulsory.

"The security forces personnel have the power to shoot the suspects as they were encroaching the prohibited areas unless they declare that they are not intruders by putting up a white flag.

"All of this are not stated in the book, but anyone entering restricted areas without good intention, or carrying weapons, should be shot because if we don't, they will shoot at us first," he said.

For constitutional law expert from the Malaysian International Islamic University, Prof Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, the procedures must meet the standards and protocols of international law.

"I propose for the Attorney-General to take proactive steps to review certain protocols or procedures in the international law to give power to the armed forces in this matter," she said.

Commenting further, she said the procedures required legal back-up to avoid disputes and hostility between Malaysia and the Philippines.

Shamrahayu said only the police and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) under the Home Ministry had the power to shoot as they were entrusted to protect the country.

"In Sabah waters now, we have marine police, MMEA, and the armed forces, but for the armed forces, the power to shoot will only be given if the country is at war," she added.

Meanwhile, former legal counsel of the National Operations Council (NOC) Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman, said the proposal should not be implemented because it could lead to abuse of power and injustice for the public.

He emphasized that only the court could pass the sentence against suspected individuals, innocent or otherwise.

"The security forces may know the identity of the intruders involved, but they cannot purposely shoot as they should investigate the real motive of the intrusion. The intruder may have intruded without intention to attack or kill," he said.

Last Monday, Royal Malaysian Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar proposed to the government to give the security forces the power to shoot on sight any suspicious targets encroaching Sabah waters.

The proposal followed the incident on Saturday where a group of eight armed men ambushed a resort in Pulau Mabul, killing marine police corporal Ab.Rajah Jamuan, 32, while Constable Zakia Aleip, 26, was abducted.


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