PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called for the early enactment of the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill, following reports of a civilian allegedly assaulted by police officers for cigarette smuggling.
Suhakam also called on the Government to ensure that the Bill incorporates the substantive essence of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill 2019 and the recommendations from the 2005 Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police.
“Suhakam is convinced that the establishment of a more independent, free and transparent body will go a long way in restoring and enhancing public confidence in the police force, ” it said in a statement on Wednesday (Feb 10).
The commission had said it was disturbed by recent media reports of alleged assault on a civilian by police officers based on the suspicion that he was involved in smuggling cigarettes.
Suhakam added that between 2015 and 2020, it received a total of 479 complaints relating to excessive use of force and abuse of power by the police force.
“In accordance with the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime Handbook on Police Accountability, Oversight and Integrity, Suhakam is of the view that an effective review process by an enforcement oversight body is crucial, particularly in addressing cases of misconduct concerning excessive or unlawful use of force and firearms by police officers.
“Suhakam wishes to highlight that the use of force should only be necessary and proportionate to the law enforcement’s objective and the level of resistance encountered, ” it added.
The IPCC Bill 2020, which was tabled for its first reading in August last year, was to replace the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill introduced by the previous Pakatan Harapan government.
Although the IPCC Bill retains most of the provisions made in the IPCMC Bill, the section which would empower the commission to set up a disciplinary board to hear complaints was excluded.
Also removed was Section 31(4) to allow the Chief Secretary to the Government to set up a special disciplinary board to deal with complaints against the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
However, the IPCC Bill retains the commission’s power to initiate investigations under Section 32.
The IPCC Bill also retains the police responsibility under Section 26 to refer to the commission any incident which involves sexual crimes, grievous hurt or death of those under police detention or custody.
A new provision was included under Section 39 of the IPCC Bill which makes it compulsory for the commission to table its annual report in Parliament.