People will lose confidence in the police without oversight body, says rights group

Placing the power for disciplinary action under the proposed IPCMC has drawn protests from police officers.

PETALING JAYA: An NGO against deaths and abuse in custody has warned that refusal by the police to support recommendations for an oversight body will erode public confidence in the law enforcement agency.

“We are also of the view that a truly professional and committed police force, in wanting the utmost integrity and discipline among its personnel, will not in any way object to the setting up of the IPCMC,” said Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (EDICT) chairman M Visvanathan.

He was responding to a statement by newly retired top cop Mohamad Fuzi Harun that the force had objections over several issues pertaining to the IPCMC or Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

In a statement today, Visvanathan said the public wants nothing less than a credible and professional police force.

He said civil society and the Malaysian Bar had been demanding that the IPCMC be set up since the recommendation of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police (Royal Commission), published in mid-2005.

An independent and external oversight body would investigate complaints about police personnel and hold the police accountable for their conduct.

“Sadly, to date, the IPCMC remains elusive mainly due to the obstinate viewpoints of the police in vehemently objecting to it,” Visvanathan said.

He also noted Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) pledge in its election manifesto to establish the IPCMC, reiterated by Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on his first day in office.

He said the recommendations of the royal commission should be implemented in place of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), which has no clout other than to make proposals to the attorney-general.

“The EAIC has been shown to be ineffective in eliminating misconduct and abuse of power of enforcement officers in uniform,” he added.

“EDICT strongly urges the PH government to be committed to the immediate setting up of the IPCMC for an accountable, professional and respected police force.”

He also urged the government not to give in to pressure in the wake of objections made by the police.