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Minister announces first round of IPCMC consultations complete

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The government has concluded its first round of briefings and consultations with stakeholders on the long-awaited formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

This followed the tabling of the IPCMC Bill 2019 in Parliament last month.

According to de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong, the most recent session was held yesterday, which is believed to involve government and opposition lawmakers and police personnel.

In a statement, Liew said several issues were highlighted yesterday, including on the terms of appointment for the IPCMC commissioner and the commission’s gender representation, the welfare of police officers, as well as custodial deaths.

“Liew Vui Keong is honoured with the active participation of civil organisations and opposition and government members of parliament.

“Even so, it is regretted that several MPs did not attend, even though they were invited,” the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said.

He, however, did not name the absentees.

Liew nonetheless stated that the government would continue to take into account stakeholder feedback over the Bill.

Issues highlighted yesterday were:

  1. Use of the name ‘Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)’;
  2. The welfare of police officers;
  3. Interpretation of complaints, misconduct, and authorities;
  4. Representation of IPCMC's disciplinary, function, and regulatory authority;
  5. Terms of appointment for the IPCMC commissioner;
  6. Potential overlap of jurisdictions between IPCMC and other agencies such as the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam);
  7. Engagement with police and the public;
  8. Custodial deaths; and
  9. Gender equality in appointments to the commission.

The Aug 6 session, meanwhile, involved civil groups including - Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (Caged), Lawyers for Liberty, Human Rights Watch, Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR), Association of Women Lawyers (AWL), Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Amnesty International, as well as Tenaganita.

Following the first consultation session on Aug 6, Liew stated that the bill is still subject to change following feedback from all parties.

During which, Liew acknowledged concerns had been raised over the need to remove the prime minister’s power to appoint commissioners.

Civil groups also suggested that the scope of misconduct under IPCMC be extended beyond that which happens within police stations to cover all police operations regardless of location.

The Home Ministry, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Malaysian Bar Council, and former members of the 2005 Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Force were also involved in the first round of engagements.

Liew stated that another engagement session will be held soon involving senior and junior police officers’ associations and the Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak Police Administrative and Civilian Staff Union.

The processes will be rounded out with a final session with all stakeholders in September.

“The voices of all levels of community, including the police, civil society, opposition and minority groups will be taken into account in ensuring the new law is inclusive, holistic and effective,” he said.

The Pakatan Harapan government had tabled the long-awaited IPCMC Bill 2019 for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on July 18.

The bill is expected to be tabled for second and third reading in the first week of the next sitting in October.

The tabling of the bill comes 14 years after the 2005 Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police, led by former chief justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, recommended the creation of the IPCMC.

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