Published on June 30th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair0
Malaysian Bar Update: What To Do If PDRM Stops & Searches Your Vehicle
Know your rights when PDRM does a stop & search on your vehicle.
The Malaysian Bar launched an updated ‘Red Book’ earlier this month, which details citizens rights with regards to the police. We thought we’d share the section relevant to cars. Specifically what to do if the police stop and search your car.
The main thing to highlight is this. Yes, it is legal for the police to stop and search your car under Section 24(1) of the Police Act of 1967. They can also stop your vehicle and ask to inspect your IC and driver’s license under Section 58(2) of the Road Transport Act 1987.
That being said, you can exercise a few rights should the police stop & search your vehicle.
When the police want to search your car, here are some of the things you can do to protect yourself:
- ask for the police officer’s authority card
- note down their names, ranks and service IDs
- note down their vehicles registration number
- ask them why they want to search your car
You may also ask them if you are being investigated or suspected of committing any crimes.
If you are questioned by the police, you only need to tell them three things: your name, IC number and address. Should they ask any other question, you do not have to answer. You may ask them if you are under arrest. If they say you are not arrested, you may leave the location or refuse to obey any further instruction, including being asked to go to the police station or any other place by the police officer.
If you are under arrest, you will not be allowed to leave the location. You may also be handcuffed. You may then ask “Why am I arrested?” and if you are not informed of the reason, take note of this as the arrest is wrongful. If you are arrested, you have the right to make phone calls. Your family, a lawyer or a Legal Aid Centre are the important numbers to call.
It is important NOT TO FIGHT with the police officer even if you think you are being wrongfully arrested. Police officers too have rights, including the right to use reasonable force when you resist arrest. Also ask which police station they are taking you to, as they should take you immediately to the nearest police station and not anywhere else.
What happens to your car? If you are arrested, your vehicle can be moved to the nearby police station or other places if you are suspected of committing an offence.