03 June 2013

Pakatan to seek BN MPs’ backing for IPCMC

PETALING JAYA, June 3 — A special committee will be set up by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to canvass support from Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs to establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

The committee will contain two MPs each from PR parties PKR, PAS and the DAP, as they seek to ensure a simple majority to pass a proposed parliamentary Bill.

“The IPCMC will be our main agenda in Parliament which will convene on June 24,” DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang told reporters here.

“We need 23 more MPs for a simple majority ...  We hope this special team in the next two to three weeks can get 23 BN MPs to support it.”

According to Lim, the committee will first be targeting the four MIC MPs and seven MCA MPs, after MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu expressed his backing for the commission last week.

Gan was quoted in a media report last week as saying that the MCA youth wing has officially supported the commission, and he would be raising the matter with the central leadership.

“I think the time has come that we should have an IPCMC because it is human nature. When you are within a system and have to take disciplinary action against your own colleagues, it can have a lot of psychological barriers,” Gan said on Saturday.

In another report last week, MIC national treasurer Jaspal Singh similarly backed the formation of an IPCMC, saying that “no party, in law enforcement or otherwise, can be expected to police itself”.

The call for an IPCMC grew stronger after three custodial deaths took place in the space of 11 days recently, with the latest being P. Karuna Nithi, 43, who had been found unconscious on Saturday in the Tampin police station lock-up.

Karuna Nithi’s death came on the heels of N. Dharmendran, 32, who died just 11 days earlier on May 21 while under remand at the city police contingent headquarters here.

According to rights group Suaram, there were 218 cases of alleged deaths in custody in Malaysia from 2000 to this month, with its records showing that nine of those cases occurred in 2012 while five cases took place this year.

A United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention 2010 visit to Malaysian prisons and detention centres reported in 2011 that between 2003 and 2007, “over 1,500 people died while being held by authorities.”

The Malaysian Bar, civil society groups and several politicians from both sides of the divide have called for the IPCMC to be implemented to reform the police force since 2006.

The IPCMC, which was mooted by a royal commission chaired by former Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah but shot down by the police, was to be modelled on the United Kingdom’s Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), as well as other police oversight bodies in New South Wales and Queensland in Australia, and Hong Kong.


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