Police Updates on Facebook?

Commenting on the Chief Police Officer of Selangor, Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, posting investigation initiatives on his Facebook profile.

The recent death of Permatang state assemblyman Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohd Noh, and his former personal assistant, Siti Rohana Ismat, though fascinating for the tantalizing possibilities its factual scenario allows for speculation is also interesting because news of it spread due to a posting by the Chief Police Officer of the Selangor State, Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, on his Facebook profile. It appeared that for a while Datuk Khalid was posting updates on the investigation.

Screenshot of the facebook posting (Source: Malay Mail)

Screenshot of the facebook posting (Source: Malay Mail)

A 3 August 2010 news report from Malaysiakini reported the following:

Khalid had initially denied on his Facebook page that Abdul Aziz was shot, calling it a rumour.

However, he Khalid issued another post on his Facebook page an hour later confirming that Abdul Aziz and his aide had indeed been shot.

“Please don’t speculate (on the case). Witnesses interviewed at the scene confirmed there were nobody else in the car,” wrote Khalid again on Facebook, at approximately 3.45pm.

In another Facebook posting at approximately 5.50pm, Khalid said that the preliminary autopsy report suggest that Abdul Aziz sustained two gunshot wounds while the aide sustained one.

“There are two bullets inside the chamber while there were three spent casings inside the chambers,” wrote Khalid.

However, at 7.15pm Khalid made a second correction in his Facebook. He said the woman had two gunshot wounds while Abdul Aziz had one.

The bodies were sent to the Sungai Buloh Hospital for post-mortem.

My concern is quite simple really: What the hell is the Chief Police Officer of Selangor broadcasting results of the investigation on his Facebook profile? Is this now a legitimate forum from which the general public can meaningfully seek updates on their respective cases? Was this just some cheap publicity stunt by Datuk Khalid to show how hip to technology he is? Or is this some insidious method to boost the number of his friends on his Facebook profile?

Surely there must be some standard operating procedure about how investigations are to be reported in the media. I am fairly certain that it contains nothing about Facebook updates.

Now let us consider the quoted report closer.

We can now appreciate that Datuk Khalid’s first post was completely wrong. Instead of shutting up when he could not verify the facts, he posted on his Facebook and said it was a rumour. An hour later, he confirms that both were shot thus again proving that in Malaysia, rumours are truths unconfirmed by the establishment. Early in the morning, I suppose to show he’s doing work and not playing Facebook games, he tells us all not to speculate and then gives us sufficient details of the facts to assist us into a speculative overdrive.

Again at about 5.50pm he posts unverified information regarding the gunshot wounds. Then about an hour and a half later he corrects the unverified information.

Then on 4 August 2010, Malaysiakini reports him as saying that police would take about a week to prepare their report on the death. So what were those sporadic ejaculatory updates all about if the final report would only be out a week later? The report states this: ‘Khalid also said that in the urgency to complete their report, police need to be mindful of the emotional state of the families of both victims.‘ So was spreading incorrect information on his Facebook profile a virtuouso display of being ‘mindful of the emotional state of the families of both victims’?

Having thought over the events, I cannot fathom what Datuk Khalid tried to achieve with such unprecedented behaviour. What is surprising is that his initial information tends to be suspect (pun intended thanks) and he seems a little too keen to post about issues under investigation. Since when have our police been so forthcoming with the course or fruits of their investigations? Never, in my paltry experience.

Datuk Khalid should try to behave like a prudent and proper law enforcement officer. Do not speculate or spread rumours. Do not spread disinformation because correcting it later may not necessarily correct perceptions formed earlier. And above all only disclose information that has been verified. But really, he should be keeping quiet for the most part and simply disclose the results of the investigation when it is completed as much as possible.

If the Chief Police Officer of one the most progressive states in Malaysia cannot differentiate private means of communication from his official ones, it does provoke one to ponder where else the failure to differentiate between private and official realms may occur for men of such awesome power.


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Posts by Fahri Azzat

Fahri Azzat practices the dark arts of the law. Although he enjoys writing and reading, he doesn't enjoy writing his own little biographies of himself. Like this one. He wished somebody else would do it for him. He has little taste in writing about himself in third person. He feels weird doing it. But the part he finds most tedious is having to pad up the lack of his accomplishments, or share some interesting facts about his rather uneventful life, as if there were some who found that oh-so-interesting; as if he were some famous person, like Michael Jackson. When he writes these biographies, the thought, 'Wei, Jangan Perasaan- ah!' lights up in his head. So he usually just lists what he got involved with, positions he held and blah, blah. But this time. Right here. Right this very moment. Uhuh. This one. This one right here. He's finally telling it like it is.

Posted on 18 August 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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26 Responses to Police Updates on Facebook?

  1. Such a Wonderful job on your own blog. It is quite informative and to the point. I am giving it 5 stars and enjoy reading more within the future and hope you have a fantastic day.

  2. vigilantcitizen

    here's a status update every Malaysian citizen would want to check on FB if really the police is so keen to reach the public through FB..that is The status of ISA detainees in this country.

    until and unless the police provide an update on a specific time when the detainees are going to be released and restore due process in the court of law for these people, any other updates by the police in FB will be rendered as RUBBISH.

  3. AG

    Incompetency, recklessness, idiocy, blah blah….are well known facts of the authorities, nothing to shut and doubt about. One wonder is it just waste of time to criticize or literate them!

  4. anthony rajagopal (r

    This sickens me. The cops cannot even give a decent answer to the man in the street the reasons for his family member's/friend's detention in the police lock ups. Rather the affected party/ies usually lobbies through some connected persons or lawyers (even this is impossible in some cases) to get the details.

    This is basically a case of "blowing one's own trumpet. Are we supposed to be in awe that a police officer can communicate through FB??? Will he accept if his subordinates do the same? Is this the official version that can stand in a court of law? Dunggu…

  5. Qama Gill

    Nina Tay,

    Please read Fahri's post carefully before commenting.

  6. nina tay

    hello kwn,Dato' khalid ada hati nak bagi tau rakyat perkembangan hasil siasatan polis dah kira bagus,dia pun tunggu laporan daripada pegawai2 dia,biasa lah masa buat siasatan macam2 andaian dan kemungkinan di kaji,bila dapat perkembangan baru semua andaian akan terjawab. Dato' Khalid telah membetulkan segala andaian yang sebelum ini dibuat, tak ada salah apa-apapun. Tahniah Dato' Khalid kerana mengambil inisiatif seperti ini. Hanya orang yang pandai mengkritik tapi tidak boleh melakukan apa-apa yang suka mencari kesalahan orang lain.

  7. Malaysiakini via Christine Chan on 19 August 2010 (17.33) in "Mixed reactions over CPO's updates on Facebook" picks up on Fahri Azzat's post; well, what did we tell you about writing for the ONLY blawg?

    Facebook seems to be all the rage among Malaysian politicians.

    Even Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar seems to have embraced this new media social networking tool when he posted updates on the status of an investigation.

    On Aug 3, former Permatang assemblyperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Noh and his personal assistant were found dead, both with gunshot wounds to their heads, after their car crashed into a highway divider.

    On the same day, Khalid denied on his Facebook page that Abdul Aziz had been shot, calling it a rumour.

    However, he then changed his post an hour later, confirming that Abdul Aziz and his aide had indeed been shot.

    "Please don't speculate (on the case).

    "Witnesses interviewed at the scene confirmed there was nobody else in the car," wrote Khalid again on Facebook at approximately 3.45pm.

    In another Facebook posting at approximately 5.50pm, Khalid said that the preliminary autopsy report suggested that Abdul Aziz sustained two gunshot wounds while the aide sustained one.

    "There are two bullets inside the chamber while there were three spent casings inside the chambers," wrote Khalid.

    However, at 7.15pm Khalid made a second correction on his Facebook page. He said the woman had two gunshot wounds while Abdul Aziz had one.

    Lawyer Fahri Azzat chastised Khalid's inconsistency regarding the information posted. His article titled 'Police Updates on Facebook?' on the website loyarburok also questioned whether Facebook is the appropriate platform for the police to release this information to the media.

    "What is surprising is that his initial information tends to be suspect and he seems a little too keen to post about issues under investigation," he said.

    "Datuk Khalid should try to behave like a prudent and proper law enforcement officer. Do not speculate or spread rumours.

    "Do not spread disinformation because correcting it later may not necessarily correct perceptions formed earlier.

    "And above all only disclose information that has been verified. But really, he should be keeping quiet for the most part and simply disclose the results of the investigation when it is completed as much as possible," he added.

    Akin to press conference

    Meanwhile, Selangor Bar chairman and chairperson of the Criminal Law Committee Rajpal Singh opined that releasing information via Facebook is acceptable and is similar to giving a press conference.

    "What he (Khalid) had disclosed is not detailed information of the investigation. He stopped short of issues like what caused the gunshots. He just informed what had transpired," Rajpal said.

    In fact, Rajpal thinks that this is no different from giving a press conference where the police give information to the public on high-profile cases.

    "They have done this (giving press conference) in other cases, so this is similar to that, as long as he does not release details which could hamper the investigation.

    However, like a press conference, the CPO ought to have his facts verified before releasing it to the public, he added.

    The chairperson of the Constitutional Law Committee, Edmund Bon, concurred and said that although criminal law practitioners would like a free flow of information from the authorities, it should come with high quality of police work.

    "It does not reflect well on the police if the information is posted without verification. Information posted must be verified else it might jeopardise the criminal proceedings in the future," he told Malaysiakini.

    He added that if the CPO was not sure, then perhaps it is best the information is kept to himself first.

    "If you are not sure, then don't say it," he added.

    Experienced criminal lawyer and author of 'Criminal Litigation Process' Baljit Singh highlighted that revealing police investigations on Facebook is contrary to international standards of police investigation.

    "In a police investigation nothing is conclusive; exposing it to the public is not wise because evidence could be destroyed.

    "Even the complainant has to write to the police for them to reveal the investigation status. And this only takes place after two weeks into the investigation (not on the same day)," he said.

    Baljit said that Khalid might have jumped the gun when he made several updates. He stressed that Khalid should be held accountable as he might have jeopardised the investigation.

  8. abdulhaleem

    Fahri – this is not helping. Even the ClownPO fail to address what your piece about. As usual we are losers because their content was taken out of context. More than that, a collective response which against the main subject discussed is driving me nuts. I would like to see this portal remain as an avenue for intellectual combat. My humble request is – please change your policy and keep uncivilized cyber troopers out of this site. We have enough entertainment on MSM. We don’t need it from LB!

  9. khalis

    transperen salah … unpublish salah .. TELL the truth salah.. tipu lagi la salah…. so what the right path ?? … so stupid la si loyarburok nie.

  10. loya bodo

    Kejap kata nak transparen.. Kejap kata tak nak pula…

    Bodoh betul la budak islam nie

  11. Judge Dredd

    human right. suka hati la dia nak tulis apa. sapa suruh baca.

    and honestly, do you trust everything written in then net, esp from a cop?

    Loya bodo

  12. Michael

    He's an idiot lah. Well written. Enjoyed reading it.

  13. vincent

    Only the police or someone related to the ruling coalition can disseminate this type information. Anybody else will be threatened with ISA or OSA or whatever Arse they have. Case in point, the Teoh Beng Hock alleged "suicide" note, someone related to the ruling coalition could get hold of the info and publicly raised it without any action taken against him.

    So our chief here could just write anything he fancy as he was playing his Facebook games.

  14. Sean

    I think there should be a feed from rmp.gov.my for facts obtained by the police at the public expense. Those facts should never contain idle thoughts, hearsay, discussions, casual observations etc, but only facts of a standard suitable for admission as evidence in court. Such a feed should be provided by RMP themselves – never by a 3rd party 'social web' site (though 3rd parties should be welcome to 'socialise' the feed). I think it would be great for armchair sleuths, statisticians, public policy workers and groups, the neurotic, and for the security and forensic industries.

    Police officers on facebook is just ridiculously wrong, unless it is an apparent 'outreach' program, preferably _not_ featuring gunshot wounds.

  15. auntie sassy

    nice to criticise people. ur point is correct tht the info should be accurate on matters pertaining reports tht are displayed on the fb account. However, it is possibly his assistant tht update the info wrongly and as a boss he should make sure it is done correctly. But i am also a boss and many staff are unreliable these days. U should be more symphatetic to the old man, and encourage him for trying and not try to belittle his effort. So typical of malaysian! The tone of ur denigrating his effort is too overwhelming.

  16. Joy

    Response by Dato' Khalid in his facebook….. Pls do not demoralised when someone is trying to do his best to the people and country.

    Police Updates On Facebook.

    by Khalid Abu Bakar on Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 1:39pm

    Rakan2 fb sekelian, apa yg kita buat, semua tak kena kepada sesetengah orang khususnya kpd Saudara Fahri Azzat, didalam artikelnya yg disiarkan didalam satu laman web portal, baru2 ini. Dia mempersoalkan inisiatif saya memberi Update, khususnya berkenaan kes bekas ADUN Permatang tempoh hari.

    Menggunakan akaun fb adalah inisiatif saya sendiri dan tiada arahan dari pucuk pimpinan untuk mengujudkannya dan memang benar bahawa tiada arahan dalam SOP kita untuk menggunakan fb didalam kita menghebahkan maklumat2 berkenaan sesuatu kes atau siasatan Polis.

    Didalam kes kes berprofail tinggi saperti kes bekas Adun tersebut, saya telah menggunakan fb untuk memberi Update kerana ingin memberi perkembangan terkini siasatannya dengan cepat supaya khabar2 angin, fitnah2 dan spekulasi liar yang telah tersebar dapat dipatahkan. Khabar2 angin dan spekulasi ini jika tidak dibendung dengan cepat boleh mengakibatkan suasana yg tidak harmoni dan juga akan merunsingkan ahli keluarga yang terlibat. Dalam pada saya memberi Updates itu pun berbagai bagai khabar angin telah tersebar dan antara tanggungjawab saya adalah untuk memastikan berita2 palsu ini tidak tersebar bagaikan 'wild fire'.

    Didalam era teknologi hari ini, dimana maklumat bebas dan cepat tersebar, adakah salah saya menggunakan teknologi ini untuk menyebarkan maklumat yang betul dan tepat? Bukan kah maklumat yang saya sebarkan melaui fb saya akan melenyapkan apa apa juga berita angin dan spekulasi yang kurang tepat?

    Masyarakat menghendaki Polis mendekati masyarakat, supaya turun padang agar apa juga maklumat dan rungutan dapat disampaikan secara terus. Bukan kah ini yang saya cuba lakukan? Mengujudkan akaun fb saya sendiri akan mendekatkan saya dengan semua lapisan masyarakat dan ini sejajar dengan hasrat untuk menjadikan Negeri Selangor ini sebagai base untuk aktiviti Community Policing.

    Memang ada pun rakan2 fb saya yang mengutarakan masalah2 mereka termasuk bertanya saya berkenaan kes mereka di laman fb ini. Saya tiada halangan jika Saudara Fahri Azzat ingin membincangkan kesnya melalui laman fb, jika Saudara Fahri sendiri inginkan begitu…..

    Mungkin ada cemburu dgn sambutan yg memberangsangkan yang saya terima melalui laman fb saya dan mungkin ada pihak khuatir, apabila maklumat2 tepat dan cepat dapat saya sebarkan…… akan memberi kurang peluang pihak2 ini utk spin isu isu tersebut…..

    Sebenarnya, saya cuba menggunakan apa saja medium untuk memudahkan saya berinteraksi dengan stake holders saya, ia itu, masyarakat…..ini pun ada orang yang tidak bersetuju.

    Sebenarnya, Saudara Fahri ini juga adalah peminat saya kerana telah dapat akses laman fb saya dan mengikuti perkembangan yang saya siarkan di laman fb saya.

    Comment · Unlike · Share

    You and 6 others like this.

    Geng Kita good effort, dato' guna fb nehh

    memacam boleh update

    berita terkini etc

    adakah masih nak lagi guna cara lama

    …See More

    13 minutes ago · Like ·

    Shema Abas biarla apa org nak kata datuk..asalkan kita dah laksanakan tanggungjawab..selamat maju jaya..

    13 minutes ago · Like ·

    Mohd Fazli Zainul Abidin orang sentiasa mengikuti perkembangan kita adalah peminat kita datuk, kalau orng tu mentaliti dah set nak salahkan polis, polis buat baik pun tak kena, ada saja yang mencari kesalahan. nway FB cara komunikasi berkesan seiring teknologi.. congrate datuk. apa web Fahri Azzat datuk..

    9 minutes ago · Like ·

    Al-nur Ikhwan Askum datuk… Bg sy, biar r ape org nk ckp tntang ape yg datuk kongsikn dlm fb brsma pmnat. Mmng wjar datuk buat mcm 2, spaya parasit yg suka mmbuat fitnah dn mnokok tmbh spekulasi tntng siasatn polis, tdak akn dlyn oleh pmnat2 fb datuk. Mnusia, mcm2 rgam datuk.

  17. Joy

    Roth: New arahan Pekeliling was out to allow FAcebook used by government as a channel of communication with public. Lets look at the positive side of using facebook for police. I am sure CPO Selangor is doing it with good intention and aware that he will be subjected to criticism. Put yourself into his shoes before criticizing his efforts.

    • Dear Joy, Thanks for the comment but just because the CPO of Selangor does something with good intentions does not mean that he is beyond criticism. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. My point was that if you want do disseminate information then do it properly especially considering you an official authority. Look at his sloppiness in releasing information. I don't have to put myself in his shoes where this is concerned simply because for all his wealth of experience and knowledge of procedure he should have acted with a bit more restraint and a touch more common sense.

  18. Varreon

    Chief Khalid is either totally incompetent or he has a hidden agenda. Was his purpose just to show off his internet savviness? Or to highlight this event and keep it from being swept away? Hmmm…

  19. roth

    I understand from my friend that access to Facebook has been banned for civil servants during office hours I wonder why the Police is given special preference

  20. codename_snake

    Just about anybody can register to Facebook as anybody. Please do not believe wholely what's been publish there.

  21. LM Chong

    No one wants to lodge a police report concerning breach of OSA?

  22. abdulhaleem

    I wonder how come APCO not managing his and PDRM's PR affairs!

  23. rollie

    alamak! datuk wants to b seen to b kool la . .imagine on facebook…going further this datuk title also interferes w his official capacity . .

  24. hak

    I think police chief ought to be disciplined. Its a reckless act, endangering the impartiality/confidentiality of police investigations. This has brought down the reputation of PDRM to its lowest groundbottomed lowest low, vicariously implicating the ministry of home affairs and the country.

  25. Qama Gill

    this is the cause of merit system in Bolehland. one is appointed without proper assesment on their ethics or abilities.