IGP not above the law, says Malaysian Bar

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 27 Aug 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The Inspector-General of Police should not be excluded from scrutiny along with other members of the police force by the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), says the Malaysian Bar.

Its vice-president Roger Chan said Section 31 (4) of the IPCMC Bill 2019, which excluded the IGP from such scrutiny, contravened principles under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.

“Why should the law exclude the IGP and more importantly, why is he given the power to judge his peers?” Chan told reporters after chairing a meeting with the police, civil society organisations and other stakeholders on the Bill at the Bar Council building here yesterday.

Article 8 of the Federal Constitution states that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law.

The IPCMC Bill states that a special disciplinary board will be set up by the Chief Secretary to the Government to address complaints against the IGP.

Bar Council IPCMC Taskforce chairman Datuk Seri M. Ramachelvam, who was present, said the government’s reasoning behind the exclusion of the IGP from the purview of the IPCMC was because the IGP should be treated like other senior government servants.

“The IGP acts like a senior government servant, like the Chief Secretary or Attorney General. So they would come under a different discipline regime. That is their (government’s) logic.

“They seem to say that there is an existing process and they want to follow that process,” he added.

Ramachelvam called for the Inspector-General of Police’ Standing Orders (IGSO), currently placed under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), to be made public.

“The entire conduct of the police is being governed by the IGSO. The IGSO are official secrets which are not available to the public, and possessing them is an offence. So, how to regulate misconduct?” he asked.

Ramachelvam said Clause 22(2) of the IPCMC Bill 2019 should be removed as it stated that matters falling under Section 96 and 97 of the Police Act were excluded from the purview of the IPCMC.

“That is the fundamental thing that needs to be done. If not, the IPCMC will not have things to do,” he added.

Clause 22(2) states that breaches of the IGSO were out of the scope of the IPCMC.

Section 96 of the Police Act deals with regulations on promotion and reduction in ranks, promotion and proficiency examinations, definition of disciplinary offences, uniforms and arms, leave of absence, and fees for extra police services.

Section 97 deals with the administrative orders for the general control, direction and information of the police force.

Bar Council Constitution Law committee co-chairman Andrew Khoo said it was important to move away from the “environment of the OSA” in order to hold the police accountable to the public.

“In more open and democratic societies, the police chief’s Standing Orders are not covered by the OSA.

“In the UK, Australia and some provinces in Canada, these standing orders are publicly available,” he added.

The IPCMC Bill 2019 is expected to be tabled for a second reading and passed in Parliament later this year.

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