Insulting & obstructing the duty of 2 policemen, woman in viral video face up to 7-year jail, RM10,000 fine or both

Recently, an incident involving a civil servant and two police officers has been the talk of Malaysians. A couple of videos recorded during the incident have been circulating on social media, with a couple of unrelated incidents involving the civil servant, who is a senior-rank police officer, have also gone viral.

In one of the videos, the woman can be seen berating and belittling two men in uniform, asserting that they are not high-ranked enough to be talking to her. Subsequent to the incident, it was revealed that the two police officers hold the rank of Lance Corporal and were only doing their jobs by requesting the woman to show her IC and police authority card.

However, the woman didn’t comply and refused to produce her police authority card. Afterwards, the woman began shouting and scolding the police officers as seen in the two viral videos.

The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has since gotten involved and investigated the woman in the video. On Saturday (17 June), she was called to the Gombak District Police Headquarters to provide a statement on the altercation. A day later, she was arrested by PDRM to further assist in investigations, though she was out on bail on the same day.

So, what possible charges can be taken against the senior-rank police officer? Furthermore, what punishments await her for the alleged offences committed during the whole incident?

Well, read on below as we delve in-depth into the relevant laws to find out.

Criminal Intimidation under Section 506 of the Penal Code

Based on the statement by Selangor PDRM dated 18 June regarding the woman, she is being investigated for two offences under the Penal Code and one offence under the Minor Offences Act 1955. Let’s start with the most severe offence of the three, which is criminal intimidation as per Section 506 of the Penal Code.

This charge pertains to an incident that happened directly before the viral videos, whereby a complainant lodged a police report asserting that the woman had threatened to hit him while berating others at the scene. Selangor Police Chief Datuk Hussein Omar Khan asserted that the complainant claimed that the civil servant had scolded him for being noisy at a neighbour’s house. The woman then loudly introduced herself as a civil servant and said that she could arrest the complainant on the grounds of creating a din.

Based on the complainant’s claims, the woman’s alleged action may be considered criminal intimidation, an offence in our country. Section 503 of the Penal Code prescribes criminal intimidation as below:

Applied to the incident, the senior-rank female police officer’s threatening to hit the complainant and others at the scene fits with the prescription of Section 503 of the Penal Code. Furthermore, any person who commits criminal intimidation may be punished under Section 506 of the Penal Code below:

As you can see from the provision, the punishment differs based on the offence committed, with the base punishment being imprisonment of up to 2 years, or fine or both. However, should the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, the punishment may be imprisonment of up to 7 years, or fine or both.

As for what is considered ‘grievous hurt’ in our legal system, Section 320 of the Penal Code defines it as the following:

Obstruction of the duty of a police officer under Section 186 of the Penal Code

The more relevant alleged offence committed by the senior-rank police officer seen in the video is the obstruction of the duty of a police officer. As such it is an offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code below:

Based on what has been reported regarding the incident, the altercation between the woman and the two Lance Corporals was due to the refusal of the latter to show her police authority card. This can be argued as the woman not cooperating with the two police officers in the discharge of their duties.

Hence, the civil servant can be considered to obstruct the duty of the Lance Corporals in the discharge of their duties as per Section 186 of the Penal Code. Accordingly, should she be charged and convicted under this provision, the senior-rank police officer may face up to 2-year jail, an RM10,000 fine, or both.

Insulting behaviour as per Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955

Lastly, the woman’s actions in creating a commotion in public could lead her to be charged under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955 for insulting behaviour. The provision prescribes as below:

Based on the video and what has been reported on the incident, it could be argued that the civil servant has uttered abusive or insulting words towards the two Lance Corporals. However, compared to the other two potential charges she faced, an offence under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955 prescribes a rather light punishment, which is a fine of up to RM100.

It is now up to PDRM to conduct investigations and provide their findings to the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) for further action. However, since the suspect is a high-rank police officer, the whole process should be made as transparent as possible to eliminate any suspicion of bias by the public.

In addition to the above, the civil servant may face disciplinary proceedings as per the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993. However, if a criminal proceeding has been instituted against the officer and is still pending, the aforementioned disciplinary proceedings couldn’t be established unless it is for a different issue.

This is in accordance to Section 30 of the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993 below:

(1) Where criminal proceedings have been instituted against an officer and are still pending, no disciplinary action shall be taken against the officer based on the same grounds as the criminal charge in the criminal proceedings

(2) Nothing in subregulation (1) shall be construed so as to prevent disciplinary action from being taken against the officer during the pendency of such criminal proceedings if the action is based on any other ground arising out of his conduct in the performance of his duties

Moving forward, let this incident be a reminder to all Malaysians that no one is above the law. To further showcase this, it is hoped that PDRM and the Home Ministry could create a more refined and transparent process when alleged misconduct or crimes were committed by those in the uniformed body.

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