Where is the unconstitutionality of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) when similar external oversight bodies have been set up in the United Kingdom and Australia, asks former Umno Wanita deputy chief Kamilia Ibrahim.

ipcmc  bar council putrajaya 141106 bannersKamilia, who was one of 15 royal commission of inquiry (RCI) members who tabled the IPCMC proposal in 2005, pointed out that the UK has the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), while in New South Wales, Australia, there is an ombudsman overseeing  to the police.

Kamilia, a lawyer, said there are also similar systems in Hong Kong and Queensland.

“Where is the alleged unconstitutionality of the IPCMC as the commission had visited these countries and studied its implementation to come up with the report and recommendation.

“Why can't it be implemented here when they (other countries) can do it there?

“We cannot have the police investigating themselves in such cases of death in lock-ups, abuse of power or corruption,” she said.

She stressed that there must be an independent oversight body empowered to investigate such matters and to which the public can channel their  complaints.

“We had even asked that former policemen cannot be IPCMC members so they cannot practise favouritism when a case comes up on someone whom they know.”

The idea of the IPCMC, she said, is that whatever finding would be handed over to the prime minister before being tabled in parliament.
This, Kamilia added, is to ensure transparency in the police force which would be made answerable to parliament.

NONEShe said this when was asked to comment on Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's (left) assertion in Parliament on Tuesday that the IPCMC was unconstitutional and was said go against the concept of justice.

This was followed by a statement from his deputy, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, the next day, that the IPCMC would subject police to treatment worse than criminals.

‘Zahid ill-advised by the AG?’

The former Umno leader, who was expelled from the party for contesting as an independent in the recent general election, said Ahmad Zahid had probably been ill-advised by the attorney-general (AG) to say such things.

She also questioned Wan Junaidi's reasoning that   the commissioners in the IPCMC, if formed, would  act unfairly and would only be interested in passing sentences without taking considering justice.

scc vc ipcmc in brief 080108“If there is something wrong, then they can appeal even up to the Agong if they want.

“The purpose of having the IPCMC is to ensure that the police force is run well, as the public who are paying the taxes, want to make sure there are sincere efforts in fighting crime, there is no corruption and to ensure good governance,” she said.

Certainly, she added, we do not want to see police sleeping on the job or not performing their tasks, like not carrying out their required police rounds.

She also brushed aside former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan's objection that the IPCMC does not provide any leeway for the men in blue to appeal.

“I know he disapproves of the idea but that is such a lame excuse. If there is no avenue to appeal in the IPCMC, then one can be set-up.

“Furthermore, there has been much public outcry over the police over the past few years' and the IPCMC is one way of improving things. It is not that the rakyat is against the police but to ensure the police are doing their job,” she said.

Most custodial death victims Malays

Kamilia also pointed out that contrary to what is claimed, the majority of detainee deaths while in police custody are Malays and not other races.

azlanThis is not known, she said, probably because the Malay community does not like to question death or are ashamed to mention that their relative was in a police lock-up.

“But the fact remains that most of the custodial death cases in the early 2000s involved Malays, and there is a need to find out why this is happening, regardless of race.”

She described as unfortunate that out of the 125 recommendations made by the 15-member commission, the government is only interested in the physical aspects of improving the police force.

Whereas, Kamilia, said the people are more interested in seeing the integrity of the police force being developed, and sincere efforts made in combatting crime.