PETALING JAYA: MPs decided to send the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill to a select committee for deliberation after they voiced strong opposition against it.
A total of 18 MPs, mostly from the opposition, debated the bill following its tabling by de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong.
After the debate, Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof put a motion to send the bill to a select committee to be deliberated, which was passed with a voice vote.
Liew said the proposed commission was not meant to punish the police but to merely ensure public interest over police misconduct.
He said the IPCMC would also act to “shield” the police from parties making unwarranted claims and slander.
During the debate, the MPs gave a number of reasons why the commission should never take off.
Citing poor morale, low salaries and the decrepit conditions of police stations, among others, they said there were other high-priority reforms needed rather than one to punish the police personnel.
Ramli Mohd Nor (BN-Cameron Highlands), a former senior police officer, said the powers proposed for the commission were against the constitution and would affect the morale of the police force.
“I had been in the police force for over 30 years. Let me tell you, this is no justice to the hardworking policemen,” he said.
Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (GPS-Santubong), who was also a former police inspector, said the government should take care of the squalid living conditions of the police personnel instead of going through the bill.
“Police personnel are living in quarters like chicken coops in my constituency. Salaries should be increased. Have the police been consulted over the IPCMC?
“I say, bring this bill to the Federal Court to see if the IPCMC is against Article 140 of the Federal Constitution,” he said, referring to an article in the constitution empowering the Police Force Commission (PFC).
Former de facto law minister Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) said the 10 commissioners of the proposed IPCMC “are people who had no clue of the police force” and hence, lacked the competency about policing in the first place.
“It is clear those who drafted this law are not experienced. This clearly usurps the power of the PFC as provided under the constitution,” she said.
Hassan Abdul Karim (PH-Pasir Gudang) said the IPCMC was the best way to bring justice to the victims of enforced disappearances and death in custody cases.
As a lawyer, he said, he had appeared for the family of S Kalaiselvam, 21, who had died at the Kota Tinggi police station in 2010.
“Besides Kalaiselvam, the IPCMC will do justice to Amri Che Mat and Raymond Koh. Suhakam has found the police’s Special Branch to be involved in their disappearance.
“As conscientious MPs, we cannot allow this (forced disappearance) and we should allow the commission to be formed,” he said.
Opposition Leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera) said the IPCMC “makes the police the scapegoat” while the 21 other enforcement agencies are spared from any scrutiny.
He also asked how the 10 commissioners would be appointed, and if a politically-linked individual from the ruling government could be placed there.
“There might be some NGOs who are against the police, maybe with an axe to grind, who might become members. The PM might put in a politically linked person in there. It is backward.
“I am not against the police from being reprimanded but the present Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) is good enough. Let’s give them more powers and maybe place them under Parliament,” he said.
In his winding-up speech, Liew said the IPCMC was drafted in accordance with the Federal Constitution, which allowed Parliament to enact a law to monitor the police.
He also dismissed claims that the government had hurried with the drafting of the bill, saying it had taken its time and consulted scores of senior police officers.
Liew said the EAIC had been seen as ineffective, as it could only recommend punishments to the police’s disciplinary authorities.
As for the other 20-odd enforcement agencies, their respective integrity departments are authorised to discipline them, he said.
The house adjourned to 10am tomorrow.