Groups call for redraft of IPCMC Bill

  • Nation
  • Monday, 07 Oct 2019

PETALING JAYA: Civil societies continue to express concerns over the proposed Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill, and called for a redraft of the Bill, which is expected to be tabled for second reading in Parliament today.

Citizens Against Enforced Disappearance (CAGED) said in Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto, the IPCMC had initially stood for “Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission, ” proposed in 2005 by the Police Commission.

“In the Bill, the word ‘and’ has been replaced with ‘of’.

“It falls far short of the 2005 proposal.

“This is because it is modelled on the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), which even the government agrees is a failed institution.

“If the EAIC is a toothless tiger, the Bill is a toothless, limbless tiger since it has even less investigative powers, ” the group said in a statement yesterday.

The NGO said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong had invited and collected their feedback but had not given them a copy of Monday’s Bill.

“We urge the MPs to ask the minister to redraft the Bill as it lacks bite.

“The Bill should be modelled after the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission), an institution which, under the right leadership, has proven effective.

“There is a big difference in which MACC commissioners have police ranks, strike fear and are always on duty but EAIC commissioners are mere laypersons, ” it said.

The Bill should not be restricted to complaints of misconduct, the group added.

“Presently, the Bill has no definition of complaints. The drafters say the definition is in the domain of the Public Complaints Bureau (PCB).

“Checks show that the PCB will not investigate complaints on matters which are under the authority of the MACC.

“The Bill should mandate that the police cannot investigate deaths and grievous injuries which may have been caused by police actions, ” it said.

The NGO said police shootings and deaths in police custody must be investigated by the IPCMC and that the Bill must include provisions for holding evidence and suspects, and establish commissioners with police ranks.

“It is unclear what model of independence is adopted in the Bill.

“Data must also be released to enable MPs and the public to assess whether the Bill will aid police reform, ” it said, urging the Home Ministry to release data on complaints the police received since 2005 and the effectiveness in resolving them.

Separately, civil society organisations are also concerned over the Bill.

“The decision by the Pakatan administration to introduce the IPCMC Bill is to be applauded and supported by all stakeholders.

“The introduction of the IPCMC is the first step in ensuring the long-term reforms of the police force.

“It must be vested with the necessary power and granted independence from the executive to tackle the difficult task of police misconduct in Malaysia, ” the organisations said.

Liew has on several occasions hosted and conducted town hall meetings and dialogue with civil societies and other stakeholders on the content and direction of the Bill.

While welcoming such consultations, the organisations said several key areas of concerns had been raised and hoped it would be taken into account by the drafters.

“Under the Bill, the Prime Minister would have the power to appoint and dismiss IPCMC commissioners without cause, establish regulations for the IPCMC, including the procedure on handling complaints, and unilaterally alter the composition of the disciplinary board.

“The Bill has omitted extensive investigative powers, which were granted to the EAIC and none of the investigative powers recommended by the 2005 Royal Commission.

“There are also no powers for the IPCMC to conduct public hearings and inquiries.

“Equally worrying, the complaints committee established by the IPCMC Bill, which classifies complaints, would not be headed by a commissioner, ” they said.

Other areas of concern were referral of cases involving grievous hurt or death, secrecy clauses and scope of power.

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