©The Star (Used by permission)
by Tarrence Tan
KUALA LUMPUR: The government should hold discussions with relevant stakeholders before tabling the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill in Parliament, says Bar Council IPCMC Task Force chairman Datuk Seri M. Ramachelvam.
“Our call for the government is that before the bill is tabled in parliament, let the relevant stakeholders’ consultations be held by the Bar Council, civil societies and other stakeholders.
“It is imperative that the bill receives widespread consultation to take into account the various suggestions to improve the bill,” he said during a press conference after chairing a roundtable discussion on
“IPCMC Without Further Delay” on Thursday (May 30).
The roundtable discussion consisted of representatives from the retired police officers association, the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human rights (MCCHR), Society for the Promotion of
Human Rights (Proham) and Amnesty International.
Lawyer R. Sivaraj, who is a member of the IPCMC Task Force, said among the concerns raised during the roundtable meeting was that the proposed bill did not have support from the majority of police officers.
“So we want to address the concerns of the police officers who were worried that the IPCMC would somehow breathe down the neck of every police officer and be involved in every investigation,” said Proham secretary–general Ivy Josiah.
“I hope that it’s a misconception that many did not agree to this,” Ivy added.
However, drawing on her experience as a former member of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police, Ivy said that many good police officers were in favour.
“Many police officers would come to us and say they want the bad apples to leave the force. A majority of the police officers are very good,” she added.
She said the IPCMC would be looking at addressing gross misconduct such as torture, death in custody and corruption.
At the same time, Malaysian Bar vice–president Roger Chan said the IPCMC was needed to instil public confidence in the police force due to a long history of alleged abuse of power, police brutality and corruption.
“Things like that are still being talked in public and it’s unhealthy.
"There are many good officers around. But, we can’t afford a number of bad apples to spoil and tarnish the name of a very important institution,” he said.
Ivy said that the task force would be expecting the IPCMC to address issues pertaining to the welfare of the police.
The IPCMC was first proposed by a Royal Commission of Inquiry to improve the police force in 2005, following a spate of deaths in custody.
Previously, National Governance, Integrity and Anti–Corruption Centre (GIACC) director–general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed said that discussions held with police representatives were positive.
Abu Kassim said there were no objections to the setting–up of the IPCMC and the police supported it.