Bersih urges review of IGP appointment process in wake of leaked audio clip

Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin. - Filepic/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The government should review and improve the process in the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to instil integrity and public confidence, says civil rights and electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0.

Its steering committee said that it was necessary to reflect the top cop’s ability to carry out his duties with integrity, impartiality and fairness.

“Bersih 2.0 expresses concern over Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin’s conversation with an unknown individual to discuss the candidate for the IGP position.

“The discussion that was leaked on social media and was admitted by Hamzah himself, among others, mentioned that they need to appoint ‘our boy’ to be the IGP.

“This is very concerning as the decision should be made by the Police Force Commission (SPP) based on objective criteria and not whether the person is ‘our boy’ as the IGP must carry out his duties professionally and not taking sides with any party, ” it said in a statement on its official Facebook page.

Earlier, Hamzah announced that Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani will be the new Inspector-General of Police to replace Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.

Hours later, Hamzah had admitted that it was him in the leaked audio recording of a discussion on Abdul Hamid’s successor, and maintained that he did nothing illegal.

Abdul Hamid lamented his frustrations over Hamzah’s interference in the SPP, and that it should not be chaired by a minister in order to prevent any political interference.

Bersih 2.0 said the SPP chaired by Hamzah must make public the criteria used to appoint IGP in order for public members to evaluate the appointment.

“To ensure a more transparent and accountable IGP appointment process, (the SPP should) form an advisory assessment panel that will nominate three candidates to the commission, which would then select a candidate and submit his name to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for approval.

“After confirmation from the PSC, the SPP would present the selected candidates to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to be appointed as IGP, ” it said.

It noted that currently, the IGP appointment process, as stated in Article 140 of the Federal Constitution where the SPP - chaired by a Federal minister, would nominate an IGP to be appointed by the King.

“The appointment process, before the name is submitted to the King for an appointment, should be reformed to enhance transparency and integrity of the appointment process.

“The process of appointing key government officials is very important and must go through the Parliament so that the appointment is truly transparent, accountable, based on merit and not based on the decision of the federal minister alone, ” it added.

Bersih 2.0 also called on the government to enact a Public Appointments and Removal Bill 2021 so that all the process of appointment and dismissal of key public officers can be scrutinised by the people to improve the current appointment process.

“The involvement of the Parliament is also important in such an appointment process, as the role of the Parliament should not be limited to law-making only.

“We also hope that the new IGP Datuk Acryl Sani will be able to carry out his duties without fear or favour and truly uphold justice and welfare of the people, ” it said.

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