Take another look at IPCMC, Gerakan tells govt

KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 3: Gerakan urged the Government to reconsider the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Gerakan deputy youth chief Andy Yong, in a statement to The Malaysian Times (TMT), said that the government should look into a larger picture and most importantly to have a real political will to transform.

“Whether it is EAIC (Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission) or IPCMC, what the people want is integrity, accountability and credibility of the police force.

“So it is not so much issues of human rights or jurisdiction but to restore public confidence of an independent body,” Andy stressed.

Andy further said “If the country is committed to maintain an effective mechanism and to move forward, EAIC has obviously failed to perform so far.

“Very few cases resulted in disciplinary action under EAIC, not to mention the negative perception of the public at large,” he noted.

Previously the government rejected similar calls due to several reasons; among others being “unconstitutional” and restriction of police power in carrying out its duties.

In response to this, Andy said, “In my opinion, contrary to the above reason, with the establishment of IPCMC it is actually consistent with Article 140 of the Federal Constitution in relation to the Police Force Commission and will likely to deter misconduct of the few bad apples (as commonly said) in the police force”

“The gist of the Royal Commission Report in 2005 in relation to IPCMC are to investigate complaints of the police personnel in order to prevent and investigate corruption and other serious misconducts.

“In short to improve police integrity and build public confidence.

“So if members of the EAIC are appointed from “within” the government or the same agency, how can the public expect independence?” asked Andy.

On Wednesday, the government has once again defended its decision not to set up the IPCMC in its reply to the United Nations.

The decision was taken because the EAIC has already been formed in 2009, the Malaysian government told United Nations Human Rights Council.

The government added, in the report released last month, that it has also conducted workshops to ensure enforcement agencies are aware of human rights.

“Relevant government agencies and Suhakam have conducted seminars, workshops and training programmes to promote awareness and education in relation to human rights to police officers and other enforcement agencies.

“Malaysia is committed to maintain effective mechanisms to ensure an independent investigation of alleged misconduct by government officials, including law enforcement personnel,” it said.

The government also said that it also has the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, set up in 2008, to deal with issues of corruption in the police force.

This was part of its response in the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.

EAIC A FAILURE

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch deputy director of Asia Phil Roberston said he is shocked on Malaysia’s claim that the EAIC was set up in 2009.

He noted that the law enabling the EAIC was passed in 2009, however, it took at least two more years after that for the commission to be set up.

“It is easy to make commitments in Geneva. I believe the Malaysian government would want to put it best foot forward (in the situation),” he said.

However, he said, it is clear that the EAIC has “fell far short of anyone’s expectations”, having only managed to secure three disciplinary actions against enforcement officers, with two of those only warnings, since it was set up.

“After RM4.2 million spent, then it would be very expensive convictions indeed, and these are not even convictions.

“Our view is that the EAIC, even if it has the individuals with political will and experience to investigate (police abuse) will have a hard time (to deliver) as it oversees 19 agencies,” Robertson said at a press conference on Wednesday.

During the press conference, he also urged the government to adopt reforms to ensure responsibility for deaths in police custody and what it calls “unjustified police shootings”.

The HRW called upon the formation of an independent, external oversight of the police force to end “cover-ups, excessive secrecy and obstruction of investigation into abuses”.

SOURCE:  http://www.themalaysiantimes.com.my/take-another-look-at-ipcmc-gerakan-tells-govt/

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