My experience reporting my abusive dad to the police in Malaysia

2 years ago, my dad beat me up and tried to strangle me as an adult over a petty argument over my neighbor’s guest. In the process, he also punched my sister, who was trying to break up the fight. After 25 years of him being physically and mentally abusive to my siblings, my mom and grandma and I (basically everyone living in the same house), I decided I had enough of this garbage and went to make a police report. This is how it went.

I find it extremely shocking that some family and friends I’ve told this story to ask if “it’s really that serious” or “to forgive him because he’s your father”. I want you to read about how my relationship with my dad has been and how living in the house has been like (to this present day) and then tell me again how it’s “not that bad”!

I moved to the US for university when I was 18 and have been abroad since (I’m 30 now) so I’ve had little chance to experience ‘edge cases’ of living like dealing with the police in Malaysia. I’ll note that my dad remains extremely toxic and abusive to present day (he somehow manages to ruin my annual vacation back to Malaysia every time). It’s also why my siblings moved out of the house shortly after – this incident being the final straw.

Let me tell you that my time growing up in Malaysia has been objectively negative – not just the way I was abused at home and bullied at school, but the experience with the system, culture, etc. So, I honestly didn’t know what to expect going to the police, but the bottom line is I wanted all of this to be on record.

The backstory

The bottle that my dad threw at my head the morning of the violent incident

Before we go into the interactions with the police, let me give some context surrounding what happened that time I was back in Malaysia for vacation. This was before my siblings moved out and we were all living in the same house that we grew up in:

  • My family (As in my siblings, mom, grandma and myself; my dad rarely ever joins family outings because he’s such a family man and we actually like it that way because 9 times out of 10 when he does, he makes it a miserable experience for everyone) had just arrived home from dinner.
  • Due to the hoarding situation (see: outdoor/porch section), we can only park the car directly in front of our house.
  • At this time, there is another car stopped in front of the neighbor’s gate with someone sitting in the driver’s seat and they are awkwardly parked (the front of his car overhangs the invisible line between my neighbor’s house and my family’s house) that it’s a challenge parallel parking the car into our own spot in front of the gate.
  • I give a brief honk, hoping that guy would reverse and give me some space to park, but he just looks at us like we’re stupid.
  • I attempt to park the car, with a lot of difficulty because it’s a full-sized sedan I’m driving and I don’t want to nick his bumper while parking. Meanwhile, my neighbor’s guest continues happily camping in his idling car without a care in the world that I’m making a 20-point turn to parallel park in front of him.
  • After I finally park the car and before getting into the house, I shout at the neighbor’s guest, loud enough so he can hear me – something to the extent of “Really, you’re just going to sit in your car parked however you like and watch me struggle to park when you could have just backed up a little bit to let me in? Fuck you, you selfish asshole”.
  • Sometime between that evening and the next morning, my tell-tale troll neighbor – having lived next to my family from day 1 and hearing the almost weekly shouting as I grew up and knowing my dad has a short temper – decides to snitch to my dad and tell him about my apparently rude and unruly behavior to his guest.
  • That morning, my dad starts ranting about this (see points 6 & 7 in this article: family is always wrong, outsiders are always right) in my sister’s room and starts blaming my mom (see point 8: chain abuse) for raising us kids with shitty behavior.
    • During this time, I am in the bathroom taking a shit but I’m able to overhear everything in full. At this point, I’m triggered that he’s blaming my mom for no reason and come out naked to tell him to put the blame on me if he wants someone to scold for what happened, and that it had nothing to do with my mom.
    • At this point, my dad gets even angrier and storms up to me and tries to knock my head or punch me. Whatever he was trying to accomplish, he ended up jabbing me within millimeters of my eye (where a bruise later appeared and was documented by the police). Then he tried to strangle me by the neck.
    • By now, my 80-year-old grandma and sister are attempting to wrestle him off me, during the process, he punches my sister.
    • As I break free and rush back into the bathroom, he picks up a bottle and flings it at me, hitting me on the head.
    • After this point, my mom is holding me back from doing anything stupid and my siblings are body-blocking the room in which I’m in and things subside.

The experience with PDRM

We went to the local Balai Polis (police station) within an hour of the incident, so my mom and other sibling followed along while my dad was still raging at home.

  • As there were 3 police and one other person in line, we were quickly served by one of the policemen and a policewoman. I bet they were quite surprised that 4 of us came in through the doors like a gaggle of geese first thing at 9am.
  • They asked us questions surrounding what happened, how long things like this have been happening, if there were previous time(s) when it got so serious and possible reasons for my dad’s behavior.
  • They were quite surprised given someone his age (60+ years old) would behave as such and the fact there were no external influencing factors – retired (so no work-induced stress), casual drinker and not drunk at time of incident, no substance abuse.
  • They asked if there was a history of such behavior and if a prior report was made. My mom had filed a report back in the 90’s after he had cheated on her and began getting violent after she called him out. Unfortunately, they could not find it in their system, citing it might have slipped through the cracks in the transition between paper to computer-based records (classic).
  • However, they said the old didn’t matter as this was an unrelated incident and therefore a new case.
  • At first, the police officers discussed the possibility of resolving it via mediation without making a report, as they cautioned filing a report would give him a permanent criminal record.
  • However, after we insisted that we had enough of this person and his crap, they described two possible options:
    • His behavior in this incident alone warranted the police to arrest him on the spot and throw him in jail (holding cell) for up to 2 weeks. They recommended this action as even they felt his reaction and abuse was over-the-top given what caused it.
    • After we pressed for an alternative, they suggested we could file a ‘cover report’ – that is to provide statements on record and put a report of this incident in the police system. This is the option we chose.

Why we chose filing a report over jailtime for my dad

To this day, my dad does not know my sister and I filed a police report against him.

The issue with my dad is he is absolutely out of his mind and mental, and also extremely unpredictable. The problem was the incident was serious enough to put him in jail for 2 weeks but not enough to make a case to charge him for longer – meaning he would be let off scot-free after that time.

We had a legitimate worry that he would actually murder everyone in the house after being released (I was also scheduled to fly out within that time so my siblings, mom and grandma would be left to fend for themselves). By making a report without action, he would not be notified and if he acts up again in the future, the police would have more substantial reason to lock him up for a longer period of time.

Evidence documentation at PDRM IPD (district station)

The policewoman then directed us to the IPD (District main station), where she had forwarded the case, so they could provide further support through their domestic abuse unit and document the case with photos.

Unlike the local police branch where you could drive to their doorstep, visitors were not allowed to park within the compound of the district station. Finding a parking spot was a challenge due to the busy surrounding area and we ended up having to park a decent 10-minute walk away.

At the IPD, there was about a 30-minute wait before a detective from the domestic abuse unit consulted my sister (I guess because my sister was a victim but otherwise witness to the fight she was not directly involved in) about what happened.

My sister and I are later instructed to head down the hallway to the photographic evidence unit where another policeman took pictures of the bruises that have now appeared as well as finger marks on my neck during the attempted strangulation.

After the evidence was documented, we headed back to the domestic abuse unit to wrap up the report. The detective was sympathetic and kind throughout the process, and also gave my sister a direct phone number to dial in case of future emergencies.

Positive experience with the cops

My siblings have since moved out of our childhood home last year while my mom and grandma (I believe they have had some form of Stockholm Syndrome for years) continue to live with my dad.

Overall, the experience with dealing with the Malaysian police for domestic abuse reporting was very positive. I would highly encourage anyone in a shitty family situation to go forward to their nearest police station because the last thing everyone needs is downplaying of a serious situation, and finding family and friends who are able to properly deal with it is EXTREMELY difficult.

  • Positives:
    • The 4 police officers (2 at the Balai Polis, 3 at IPD) were professional – over-weightage of ‘family comes first’ is a big and true Asian stereotype, family and friends will be quick to discourage reporting your own parent to the police but I liked that the authorities showed competence and took it as the serious matter as it was.
    • In particular, the detective from the domestic abuse unit at IPD was remarkably kind and supportive (she mainly interacted with my sister).
    • Case logging was completed within 4 hours (including travel from police branch to the main office).
  • Negatives:
    • Unlike the Balai Polis, they don’t allow you to park inside the IPD compound and finding parking was a pain (we ended up having to park a 10-minute walk away).
    • IPD photographic evidence unit had a very strong stench of smoke.

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