Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Will the Police Revolt Again Against IPCMC?


In May 2006, the Royal Malaysian Police threatened a revolt of the force should the then Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi administration proceeded to implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the Police.  As a result, the proposed IPCMC legislation was ditched and the substantially watered down Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) was set up.

Now with renewed calls for the revival of the IPCMC given the failure of the EAIC, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin has again shunned calls to form an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

“The laws are already there. The EAIC is already there. There is no point to keep discussing the IPCMC… I feel that the laws are already there and they are stronger than the IPCMC,” he said last Saturday.

The professionalism of the police force is being questioned again with the unacceptable increase number of deaths under police detention as well as the worrying rise in crime in the country, particularly in the Klang Valley.  There are already 9 deaths under detention in less than 6 months this year.  At the same time, various gangs armed with “parangs” or machetes are terrorising open air and public eateries as well as household with increasing frequency and audacity over the past few weeks.  The above has yet to include the unprofessional handling of peaceful assemblies over the past few years where even journalists are beaten to pulp, which was condemned even by the Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM).

These incidences themselves proved that the EAIC has failed in its objectives to improve on the professionalism of our enforcement agencies.  This isn’t at all surprising given that the replacement commission was designed to fail with not only a water-down powers, but also with limited funding of only RM7 million a year. At this moment, there is only one investigator is given the ridiculous task of investigating 19 enforcement agencies when this is already its 3rd year of operations.  Worse, it has been highlighted that the sole investigator was himself involved in the controversial death of Teoh Beng Hock under Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which makes a complete mockery of the Government’s sincerity and seriousness in tackling the above issues.

In 2006, the Police had listed down their objections in a special bulletin, listing up to 10 reasons to reject the IPCMC.  They claimed that the IPCMC is “against national security and public order”, “people will be the victims and the result will be a state of anarchy”, “crime cases will be out of control”, “the IPCMC is against the Federal Constitution, natural justice and the rule of law as it discriminates police personnel from ordinary citizens” and that the Act will “‘soften’ the police”.

What was shocking then was the threat by the Police that the IPCMC will “undermine the ruling coalition’s power”.  Senior police officers were quoted warning that “the police will vote for the opposition in the next general election due 2009” and that the “PDRM top brass will resign en bloc, policemen will refuse to work overtime and demand for an eight-hour five-day working week”, should the IPCMC be established.

The Police should not threaten another revolt over the set up of an IPCMC because clearly over the past 7 years, the situation on human rights abuses as well as crime in the country has not improved with any significance despite the ruling government’s acquiesce to the Police.

Instead the Police should support the set up of an IPCMC because the intent of the Commission is not to victimise the Police but to increase the professionalism of the Police force as well as to improve its effectiveness in carrying out its policing duties.  By supporting the IPCMC and weeding out the black sheep within the force while maintaining discipline within the force, the winners will be the Police themselves together with the rakyat.  What is more, if the Police is indeed professional and act above board as claimed, then surely there will be nothing to be fearful of the IPCMC.

We call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to use his new “mandate” to table a new IPCMC bill in Parliament immediately in the upcoming sitting commencing on the 24th June 2013.  Such a bold move is not only consistent with his pledge to carry out his transformation programmes, but will immediately win additional support from the people for his regime.
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