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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Malaysian Police Condemned

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysian police have been abusing powers of preventive detention and should no longer be permitted to use internal security laws to sidestep courts and lock up suspects, an official inquiry found on Monday.

Malaysia's most sweeping inquiry into its police force since independence in 1957 found the police to be the most corrupt department of government and said it should be overseen by an independent watchdog.

It said the police attracted 5,726 complaints of corruption from 1999 to 2003. One dramatic instance quoted by the inquiry report was a police officer who was said to have assets of more than 34 million ringgit ($9 million), but it did not elaborate.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said he is forming a special panel to consider how best to act on the recommendations, which the report wants tackled by deadlines ranging from next month to May 2007 in most cases, although a few run up to 2010.

Rights groups reacted positively to the report.

"We welcome the fact that the report has been made public because it shows a commitment to transparency," said Josef Roy Benedict of Amnesty International in Malaysia, which campaigned for the report to be made public.

"I can't remember any other time when a whole list of comprehensive recommendations has been made like this, and certainly not for the police," he added.