KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar Council today said it is “not acceptable” for the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to be excluded from the purview of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
Its vice-president Roger Chan questioned why the IGP would be given decision-making powers under the IPCMC bill.
“This is a very important point for consideration because it is about the police being judged by the police, and this is not a principle we find acceptable,” he said at a press conference at the Bar Council’s premises today.
The chairman of the council’s IPCMC task force, M Ramachelvam, did not agree with the government’s reasoning that the IGP was excluded because senior civil servants report to a special disciplinary committee chaired by the chief secretary.
Ramachelvam called for the IGP’s Standing Orders (IGSO) to be included in the IPCMC bill.
He said that currently, Clause 22(2) of the bill excluded the IGSO, which meant that matters stated in Section 96 and 97 of the Police Act would be excluded from the jurisdiction of the IPCMC.
“All misconduct comes within the standing orders. So, if one excludes those matters that are within the standing orders, there really won’t be much for the IPCMC to do,” he said.
Task force member Andrew Khoo echoed concerns over certain provisions in the bill, adding that the IGSO was classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
He pointed out that other democratic countries like Australia and the United Kingdom did not classify their IGSO equivalents under the OSA, and were available online to be accessed by the public.
“It’s ridiculous that a Malaysian citizen can know what the standing orders of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are, but we don’t know what our Bukit Aman standing orders are.
“We must move away from an environment of official secrets for transparency and accountability,” he said.
Khoo said the purpose of the IPCMC bill was to ensure the competency and integrity of the nation’s police force, while earning the people’s trust and confidence.
Earlier, Chan said that while the bill was expected to be passed in October, it was important that it retained as much of the character of the original bill proposed in 2005.
“The Bar Council has been consistent in the stand that there should be no dilution from the original 2005 bill,” he said.
The IPCMC was mooted in 2005 amid calls for a police oversight body following cases and complaints of wrongdoing.
Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced in May that the commission would be established before the end of this year, following a meeting between IGP Abdul Hamid Bador and the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption.
It was reported that the police had agreed to the establishment of the IPCMC with the guarantee that their role and power would not be eroded.
The IPCMC bill, which was tabled for first reading on July 18 and is scheduled for second reading in October, has been criticised by various parties, including former IGP Fuzi Harun.