Human rights groups voice concerns over Bill

PETALING JAYA: The Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill, which has been passed in the Dewan Rakyat, is commendable in principle, but its effectiveness is still questionable, says the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights.

Its director, Fahri Azzat, said the Bill was good in principle and a step in the right direction.

“The question is how effective this legislation is going to be in tackling corruption and disciplinary breaches of our legal enforcement authorities,” he said, citing concerns over the provision that the appointment of the IPCC secretary needs the Home Minister’s approval.

The Bill, which was passed on Tuesday, covers cases involving detainees with serious injuries and deaths under police detention, among others.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director Sevan Doraisamy claimed that since the IPCC was disallowed from visiting detention centres without approval, this could leave room for tampering of evidence.

“IPCC lacks investigative powers. It does not have the power to conduct search and seizure in its investigations; it cannot visit lockups or any places of detention without prior notice; it has limited power to compel the surrender of documents and evidence,” he said.

As for the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), the Dewan Rakyat also gave its approval to extend the enforcement of sub-section 4(5) for another five years from July 31.

Among others, the sub-section allows for the detention of suspects for up to 28 days for the purpose of investigations.

Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Katrina Jorene Maliamauv voiced concerns that this could lead to arbitrary arrests and detentions with no judicial oversight.

Fahri said preventive detention should not take place.

“I think the extension of subsection 4(5) Sosma is unhealthy.”

Sevan of Suaram said the extension of Sosma could provide room for abuse of power that could undermine the right to a fair trial.

A Dewan Rakyat sitting on March 23 saw MPs reject the motion to extend the enforcement of subsection 4(5).

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