Saturday, April 5, 2014

There must be no more delay in setting up IPCMC

Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on Saturday, April 5, 2014

There must be no more delay in setting up IPCMC

The Human Rights Watch ( HRW) in its “ No Answers, No Apology: Police Abuses and Accountability “ report released  3 days ago in Kuala Lumpur revealed that just 7 per cent of complaints against the police force between 2005 and 2012 reached a courtroom while over half the cases are yet to be fully investigated.
 
From extra-judicial killings of teenagers to custodial deaths, threats to lawyers and assaults on journalists covering demonstrations, the Report gives chilling and bloody first-person accounts of police abuse and misconduct.
 
Pakatan Rakyat and many NGOs have long criticized the setting up of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) as unacceptable. 
 
The HRW Report is a further proof that the EAIC set up by the government cannot effectively handle issues of discipline and integrity in the Police Force.  
 
In fact, it can be said that the EAIC , a watered down version of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission ( IPCMC) is  a complete failure to eradicate police abuses.
 
The government must stop giving excuses and must immediately set up the IPCMC recommended by the Royal Commission headed by Tun Mohamad Dzainuddin.
 
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said in Parliament last July that the proposed IPCMC was rejected as it went against the Federal Constitution, while denying natural justice.
However, Tun Mohamad Dzainuddin who chaired the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) which recommended the IPCMC had immediately come out to assert that IPCMC was consistent with the Federal Constitution.  
"Article 140 thereof provides that Parliament may by law provide for the exercise of Police Force Commission's disciplinary control over members of the police force in such manner and such authority as may be provided in that law. “
"Therefore, there can be no doubt about its consistency with the Federal Constitution," he said in a statement in response to Zahid’s statement.
Last year, then High Court judge VT Singham had in the Kugan verdict said the IPCMC should be set up as soon as possible because members of the public and family members of victims involved had little confidence in investigations carried out by the police.
 
It is clear that only the powerful IPCMC can inspire public confidence and be an effective body in checking against police abuses. 
 
Why is the government so afraid and reluctant to support the IPCMC when other countries like UK and Australia have similar external oversight bodies?  
 
The real cause for non implementation is the government’s continuing lack of political will in eradicating police abuses.
 
The setting up of IPCMC is long overdue. The government must not delay even a day longer in setting it up.
 

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