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LETTER | Police misconduct can no longer be corrected internally

LETTER | Transparency International Malaysia reiterates its call for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) which is independent of any interference or influence from anyone.

Last week we were shocked by the news that there are cartels within the Royal Police of Malaysia (PDRM) who are not only protecting and colluding with criminal organisations and individuals but also powerful enough to throttle the inspector-general of police's position and frustrate his efforts to investigate them. 

The same was reported from Johor where Johor police chief Ayob Khan was reported saying he would charge errant police officers in court and will not refer them to the Jabatan Integriti PDRM (Jips) with regards to these officers’ misconduct.

This was followed by more alarming news over the weekend where a purported whistleblower who had purportedly revealed the names of the police personnel said to be involved in abuse of power, protecting, abetting, conspiring and accepting bribes from the syndicates (such as Nicky Liow and Addy Kana) was arrested. 

TI-M questions whether the information shared is being investigated urgently by PDRM or the MACC.

If police misconduct cannot be curbed and controlled by the IGP, Jips and the Police Force Commission; then the system of self-regulation is clearly flawed, which has been pointed out by civil society and experts for decades

The IPCMC was mooted by the Royal Commission to enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police, headed by former chief justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Haji Abdullah in 2005. The purpose of the IPCMC was to improve oversight and to allow independent investigation and punishment for errant, abusive and corrupt officers across the rank and file.

The Pakatan Harapan government promised to enact the IPCMC but instead introduced a watered down version of it with the same name. Several months later, the Perikatan Nasional government made a U-turn and withdrew the IPCMC bill and mooted an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which not only had less powers but referred all findings back to the Police Force Commission for them to decide if and whether any action will be taken by them on their colleagues in PDRM. 

The IPCC Act also allowed members of PDRM to be hired as staff and commission members of the IPCC.

No other organisation or authority is given such blatant powers to investigate its own allegations and abuse and to subsequently decide on the penalties.

TI-M is greatly alarmed by the current situation and therefore calls for the following actions: 

1. The prime minister, cabinet and Home Ministry to pause all impending PDRM transfers and promotions; 

2. All lawmakers and stakeholders to urge the PM to establish a royal commission of inquiry to investigate PDRM for cartels, protection rings, links to criminal organisations and prominent individuals, as well other forms of corruption and conflicts of interest;

3. All lawmakers and stakeholders to demand for the establishment of an IPCMC which is free from interference and reports to parliament, as soon as Parliament convenes; 

4. All honest police officers who have information on these cartels and corruption within PDRM to lodge reports or whistleblow to the MACC;

5. The Home Ministry, PM and the cabinet to provide the IGP and the Johor police chief all the support necessary in their efforts, and prevent any transfers which are aimed at silencing their respective crackdowns.

The government needs to admit that this is no longer an internal issue that will sort itself out as the whole nation relies on and interacts with the police; we are all stakeholders and the rakyat deserve a clean and effective PDRM.

There is a saying in Malay, Bangkai gajah tidak dapat ditutup dengan nyiru. The issue of corruption amongst certain members and factions within PDRM can no longer be tolerated as something to be resolved internally or by transfers or disciplinary reviews by their colleagues. 

The rakyat deserves just and clean officers who in turn deserve better careers.

No impunity for the corrupt.

The writer is president of Transparency International - Malaysia (TI-M)

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

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