Calls for police watchdog growing

  • Nation
  • Friday, 05 Apr 2019

PUTRAJAYA: The outcome of a public inquiry on missing activist Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh has led to a greater push for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) .

Referring to Suhakam’s findings that the police had a hand in their disappearances, civil societies are pressing the government to expedite the setting up of the commission so that there is such an independent body.

Among the NGOs which made the call were G25 and the National Patriot Association.

They said that the commission, if it was in place, could conduct an immediate inquiry into cases that give rise to concerns over abuse of police powers.

“While we appreciate the sacrifice and dedication of our security forces in their duty, they must be made accountable for any miscarriage of justice.

“We urge the police to be magnanimous, to be open and truthful. Serious criminal conduct by individuals has to be dealt with, but protecting the overall integrity of the police force ranks supreme,” said the NGOs.

Suhakam on Wednesday concluded that Amri and Koh were victims of enforced disappearances where direct and circumstantial evidence in both cases proved on a balance of probability that they were abducted by state agents, namely the Special Branch, Bukit Aman.

G25 and Patriot also urged Pakatan Harapan leaders to start implementing reforms that would have fool-proof check and balance measures against possible misgovernance by future ruling parties or coalitions.

Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) said that Suhakam’s findings further strengthen the need for the IPCMC which would allow urgent and crucial investigations and hasten the process of bringing those responsible to justice.

“Furthermore, an independent oversight is highly necessary to not only hold inquiries but to prevent misuse of power by a powerful agency such as the police,” it said.

Proham wanted the government to act immediately against the perpetrators and ensure justice for the families.

Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (Caged) made a list of “what next”, which among others, called for the suspension of Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamed Fuzi Harun and officers which it claimed had lied to the inquiry and for their roles in the abductions.

The Malaysian Bar said it was “appalled” with the findings and that Malaysians deserved to know the truth.

Its president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said the decision was a damning indictment of the impunity exercised by the Special Branch which is privileged, and protected from scrutiny and accountability.

He said the government needed to implement the recommendations given by the inquiry panel at once, especially the recommendation that the government set up a special task force to reinvestigate the disappearances.

“(The special task force should) especially to look into police involvement in their disappearances. In our view, such a task force must be given every power to investigate this matter, without let or hindrance,” he said in a statement.

The task force should also look into the cases of other missing persons who disappeared under similar circumstances, he said.

“It is vital that the whereabouts of Amri and Pastor Koh; two other missing persons Pastor Joshua Helmi and his wife Ruth; and a fifth person, a former civilian contract worker for PDRM based at the police training centre by the name of Saiful Bahari – who has also vanished – be determined for the sake of their families and loved ones.

“They, and the Malaysian public, have the right – and deserve – to know the truth about what has happened to all of them,” he said.

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