11 July 2013

The government's objection to the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is without grounds said two former commissioners.

They have never really been interested, said the commmissioners who sat on the Special Commission to Enhance the Operations and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police Force, which came out with 125 recommendations for the government, including the setting up of the IPCMC.

The two - Datuk A. Kadir Jasin and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria - on the latest statements by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who claimed that the proposed IPCMC would result in overlapping jurisdictions as well as being unconstitutional.

"The cabinet has been avoiding discussions on the IPCMC from the very beginning, ever since we submitted the report to them in 2005," said Kadir.

He said the government argued that the police were against the IPCMC and later added that other enforcement agencies ought to be included. They then formed the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC).

"I think the IPCMC is not the problem. It is the government that is not interested to have such a mechanism," he added.

Kadir said statements from previous home ministers also clearly demonstrated that the government was not interested in the IPCMC.

He explained that the special commission visited several countries which had successfully implemented the IPCMC-like mechanism after consulting the police.

"The police had their reservations but in the end, they cooperated," said Kadir.

"The government here can still set up the IPCMC and make adjustments along the way."

Another member of the special commission, Dr Jayasooria, also shared similar views.

He said the commission is important as they would have powers that Suhakam and the EAIC do not have.

"The Home Minister may have misunderstood the IPCMC's role which is now constitutionally provided for via the Police Service Commission," he said.

He said the many complaints against the police including custodial deaths, abuse of power and excessive force justified the need to set up the IPCMC.

"The IPCMC will also assist the police in solving the perception problem," he said in reference to similar set-ups in the United Kindgom, Australia and Hong Kong.

Bar Council chairman Christopher Leong said Ahmad Zahid was mistaken as to the law and contitution.

"The constitution provides for a dedicated independent oversight authority like the IPCMC," he said, adding that the IPCMC would operate independently of the Police Service Commission and would solely focus on matterrs of indiscipline in the police force.

Former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said the function of the proposed IPCMC has to be determined first before it was declared unconstitutional.

"I cannot tell off hand whether it is legal or illegal without knowing its function," he said.

He said as former chairman of Suhakam, he had also proposed suggestions to the special commission on the setting up of the IPCMC.

Abu Talib said the IPCMC could not be given powers to discipline senior police officers as that matter came under the purview of the (Police) Commission as stated in the constitution.

"Similarly, the IPCMC could not have powers to prosecute as that authority is vested with the Attorney-General," he said.

Abu Talib said the IPCMC could entrust an independent body to investigate any wrongdoing or misconduct by police personnel.

"The IPCMC's role is to recommend criminal action to the A-G," he said.

He said the constitution has to be amended if wide powers were to be given to the IPCMC.

Abu Talib said Malaysia was not the first nation talking about the possible establishment of the IPCMC as such oversight bodies existed in Australia and New Zealand.

He said that those models could be studied.

Earlier, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng remarked that Ahmad Zahid continued to surprise Malaysians with his reckless claims and perverse logic on establishing the IPCMC.

He said Ahmad Zahid's proposal was also an insult to the special commission chairman Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, a former chief justice of Malaysia.

"This is the first time since the recommendations were made in 2005 that the IPCMC has been declared unconstitutional by the federal government.

"This is a flimsy excuse for rejecting the IPCMC," Guan Eng added. - July 10, 2013.


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