KOTA KINABALU, Nov 26 — Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) has reiterated its call for the government to abandon the proposed Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in favour of the Independent Police Complaints and Monitoring Commission (IPCMC).
TI-M president Muhammad Mohan said that an independent body was necessary to ensure accountability and good conduct of the police force, which was not possible with the latest proposed version of the IPCC.
“However, in Parliament, the government under the leadership of PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, who commands the confidence of the opposition bloc, is determined to bulldoze a watered-down IPCC Bill, much to the dismay of civil society, families of victims of deaths in custody, parliamentarians and fellow Malaysians.
“If police misconduct and involvement in organised crime cannot be curbed and controlled by the IGP, JIPS and the Police Force Commission; then the system of self-regulation is clearly flawed, as pointed out by Civil Society and experts, for decades,” he said.
His statement comes after a report of another death in the custody of the Malaysian police, that of a 44-year-old construction worker arrested for drug related offences, with no known health issues, 48 hours after being arrested on October 8 at the the Pekan police station in Pahang.
The IPCMC was first mooted in 2005 by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police, headed by former Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, with the aim of improving oversight and to allow independent investigation and punishment for errant, abusive and corrupt officers across the rank and file.
The previous Pakatan Harapan government promised to enact the IPCMC but instead introduced a watered-down version of it with the same name. Several months later, the Perikatan Nasional government withdrew the IPCMC bill and mooted the IPCC.
The IPCC would not only have less power but would refer all findings back to the Police Force Commission (PFC) for it to decide if any action will be taken.
TI-M said the IPCC allowed members of the police force to be appointed as staff and commission members, meaning there would be conflict of interest.
“No other organisations or authority is given the full power to investigate its own allegations and abuse, and to subsequently decide on the penalties.
“The people deserve world-class police and law enforcement agencies, and to feel safe when dealing with the law,” he said.
Muhammad also said that good faith whistleblowers should be able to feel safe, protected and supported to tell the truth.
“The IPCMC is empowered to make changes that both penalise corrupt officers and to improve the welfare of other officers. The draft Act has been ready for more than a decade, an entire nation is yearning for integrity; what is lacking is political will,” he said.
He said that while Malaysians were still waiting for closure and accountability following the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the mass graves in Wang Kelian, Perlis, its findings not yet published.
“The government is strongly advised to disclose this report to the public to demonstrate its commitment to transparency and good governance,” he said.