New bill to check police misconduct lacks sting, says Suhakam

Suhakam says the new IPCC bill does not capture the ‘substantive essence’ of the previous proposal.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has voiced concern about the new Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill 2020, citing its lack of independence and weakened functions.

In a statement today, it said the IPCC did not capture the “substantive essence” of the earlier Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill 2019 and the recommendations of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Police’s Operation and Management.

It said it also lacked power to deal with police misconduct.

Suhakam noted that the IPCC secretary would be appointed by the home affairs minister and IPCC officers may be appointed by any government agencies.

“The delegation of IPCC’s powers to any member of the police may also raise conflict of interest in terms of the IPCC’s stated functions in the bill and its independence.

“Therefore, Suhakam reaffirms its call for an independent body to enhance the accountability of the police force and provide a system of check and balance as an oversight mechanism.”

Suhakam said it hoped the bill would be further improved to live up to the public’s expectations for an independent body to enhance the accountability of the police.

A number of stakeholders have condemned the IPCC, with M Ramachelvam, the chairman of the Bar Council task force for the IPCMC, describing the bill as “deeply flawed”.

“It has watered down the powers that were given under the previous bill,” he said.