Independent Police Conduct Commission needs more transparency, says civil society

PETALING JAYA: Civil society organisations (CSO) are calling for increased transparency and accountability to be implemented in the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) to prevent further depletion of public trust in police forces.

In a joint press conference organized bySuara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) today, 57 CSOs aired their concerns over the sudden announced setup of the proposed seven-member IPCC on Jan 10.

Suaram coordinator Wong Yan Ke said the inherent structural deficiencies within the IPCC could render the oversight mechanism to be a "toothless tiger" regardless of the competence of its members.

This included the IPCC’s inability to conduct searches and seizures or make unannounced visits to police lock-ups or take direct disciplinary action themselves against offending police officers.

"The Commission’s jurisdiction being purely limited to providing recommendations to the Police Force Commission for subsequent action is a severe limitation seeing as they could be ignored.

"This may worsen the already rising trust deficit between the public and law enforcement due to the recent spike in severe cases of police misconduct.

"This could cause people to be less willing to cooperate with officers in the future, which will in turn make it significantly harder for the police to do their duties," he said.

Previously on Jan 16, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Razarudin Husain said that 2% of the police force had been found to have committed wrongdoings in 2023 which amounts to over 2,740 cases of rogue police officers out of an overall 137,000-strong police force.

He added the IPCC must address the lack of up-to-date data transparency on cases of police misconduct through releasing frequent updates on the police misconduct cases and statistics.

"The IPCC must be made to publicly release misconduct data on a frequent basis instead of needing CSOs like us to pressure them to disclose data through other channels like asked questions in Parliament.

"This will help to instil public confidence back in the law enforcement knowing that their complaints and concerns are being heard," he said.

He also called on the government to set up additional IPCC offices in other states to ensure that all communities, especially the marginalised rural communities like those Sabah and Sarawak, were served equally.

Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) media monitoring and action program officer Dineshwara Naidu also lamented the lack of transparency so far over the selection process for the current five IPCC members.

"The government must make it clear on how potential IPCC members are or have been chosen and what criteria they must meet as well as who or which department is in charge of this vital process.

"They must also be clear on who will be held accountable should any issues arise from the members," he said.

Other notable CSOs who voiced similar concerns during the press conference included representatives from Coalition for Clean & Fair Election (Bersih), Amnesty International Malaysia and many others.

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