PETALING JAYA: The setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is within the law and will not undermine the powers of the Police Commission, say legal experts.
Human rights lawyer Andrew Khoo said the IPCMC would not undermine the powers of the Police Commission nor jeopardise the powers of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) in meting out disciplinary action.
“If IPCMC receives a complaint about alleged misconduct of a particular police personnel, and upon investigation discovers that adequate disciplinary action has already been taken by the police, then IPCMC will not interfere.
“IPCMC will only get involved if no action has been taken, or if the action taken is deemed to be insufficient or inadequate,” he said.
Khoo said forming the IPCMC will not go against the Federal Constitution.
“The second part of Article 140 states that Parliament can by law transfer the exercise of disciplinary control over the police to an independent body,” he said.
Khoo pointed out that the Bar Council proposed amendments to the original 2005 draft IPCMC Bill to take into account the concerns of the police.
“The initial statement by the new IGP (Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador) is also very encouraging, whereby he has pledged to make IPCMC work for both the police and the rakyat.
“Police personnel who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from IPCMC,” he said.
Constitutional lawyer Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said Article 140 specifically allows for Parliament to enact laws for the exercise of independent disciplinary control over police personnel.
He said such independent oversight of the police force was consistent with the expectations and principles of a democratic society.
“We must not lose sight of the events that culminated in the recommendations that the IPCMC be established.
“Addressing them in a transparent and accountable manner is the only way in which public confidence in the police force remains.
“Obviously, however, any disciplinary measures must ensure that natural justice is adhered to fully, and that the due process of police officers concerned is maintained,” he added.
Lawyer New Sin Yew said Clause 1 of Article 140 stated that Parliament may provide for an independent authority to oversee disciplinary matters in the police force.
“It’s clearly written in Article 140 that a separate body, in this case the IPCMC, may be established to exercise disciplinary control over the police force,” he said.
He said the specific part was added in 1976 by third prime minister Tun Hussein Onn by way of constitutional amendment.
“So quite clearly since 1976, the government had envisaged an independent commission to exercise disciplinary control over the police force,” he said.