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IPCMC the bitter pill necessary for police reform

LETTER | Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) is closely following the development of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill (currently amended and renamed to the Independent Commission on Police Conduct) that was first tabled in the July parliamentary sitting and debated in Parliament on Monday, Oct 7, 2019.

Suaram has been invited to multiple consultations and town hall meetings with the de facto minister of law, Liew Vui Keong, and has provided our concerns and feedback alongside other members of the civil society who have long advocated for the introduction of an IPCMC. The minister proposed a list of 24 amendments to the IPCMC bill first tabled in July, but the proposed amendments still raise substantial doubt as to the viability of IPCMC if introduced in its current form.

Suaram and the broader civil societies have provided our recommended amendments to the agencies involved and we will continue to advocate for the inclusion of these amendments through engagement with other stakeholders via the Parliament Select Committee for the consideration of bills.

As the political machination against the IPCMC galvanises itself against the proposed IPCMC, Pakatan Harapan must not forget the reasons why the IPCMC was proposed in the first place. It was not proposed to address a fictitious wrong that threatens to undermine the credibility and dignity of the Royal Malaysian Police. It was proposed to address the long years of gross human rights violations committed by errant officers within the Royal Malaysian Police.

Members of Parliament would only need to ask the following when considering the merits of the IPCMC bill:

1. Is the proposed IPCMC able to address the death of Syed Mohd Azlan and the attempts by errant officers to dispose of evidence?

2. Is the proposed IPCMC able to address the brutal act of torture committed against N Dharmendran that led to his eventual death?

3. Is the proposed IPCMC able to address the shooting and killing of Aminulrasyid Amzah?

4. Is the proposed IPCMC able to address the disappearance of Raymond Koh, Amri Che Mat, Joshua Hilmy and Ruth Hilmy?

5. Is the proposed IPCMC able to address the failure of the Royal Malaysian Police in curbing the human trafficking activities along Malaysian borders and find the perpetrators who created the mass graves within our borders?

These are fundamental questions that IPCMC must be able to answer in the affirmative. Why? Because errant police officers have consistently avoided criminal investigation and prosecution against them and remain active members of the Royal Malaysian Police. Their immunity has created the culture of impunity among errant police officer as nothing they do will ever be subjected to the law.

Enough opportunities have been given to the past and current leadership within the Royal Malaysian Police to remedy its shortcoming and failings internally and none of them has anything to show despite the benefit of the doubt afforded to them.

The Royal Malaysian Police is in dire need of fundamental reform to eradicate the rot that threatens the sliver of integrity and credibility the Royal Malaysian Police still holds. Anything short of an empowered IPCMC at this juncture would only enable the rot to fester and destroy the Royal Malaysian police from within and without.

Opponents to the IPCMC within the upper echelon of the Royal Malaysian Police and politicians only aim to serve the agenda of those that intend to see the Royal Malaysian Police destroyed. These parties are willing and happy to condemn exemplary officers of the Royal Malaysian Police to a life of indignity while they reap the benefits of supporting and cultivating errant officers who are no better than paid thugs.

Right-minded Malaysians and police officers within the Royal Malaysian Police that upholds the spirit of a democratic Malaysia must take a stand now and push for the introduction of an IPCMC that is independent and empowered to bring reform to the force. Anything less and we would be given a farce that will only bring joy to those who seek to abuse the Royal Malaysian Police for their personal gains at the expenses of the dignity and welfare of police officers who willingly sacrifice their lives in service of the nation.

The writer is executive director, Suaram.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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