NGOs march to Parliament demanding immediate set-up of IPCMC

Some 40 representatives of 50 NGOs in favour of the IPCMC marched from Padang Merbok to Parliament, April 8, 2019. — Picture by Lazareen Thaveethu Moses
Some 40 representatives of 50 NGOs in favour of the IPCMC marched from Padang Merbok to Parliament, April 8, 2019. — Picture by Lazareen Thaveethu Moses

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — A second group of demonstrators held court outside Parliament today demanding the government move to establish the long-awaited Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) without further delay.

Also numbering about 40 people, similar to an earlier group of anti-Rome Statute demonstrators, the second group arrived at Parliament gates about 11.20am, after marching some 2km from Padang Merbok with their banner and handwritten cardboard placards.

The small number of demonstrators comprised representatives of some 50 non-governmental organisations including Eliminating Death in Custody Together (Edict), Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham), Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram), and Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (Caged).

“The IPCMC must be quickly set up so that police who have abused their power can be immediately investigated,” Khalid Ismath, a representative from Edict, told reporters.

He said the demonstrators included some 10 representatives from families of people who died while in police custody.

Also present was Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member S. Arutchelvan, who commended the police for ensuring a peaceful event, despite prior reports in other media about authorities rejecting their notification of assembly.

“Based on the Pastor Raymond Koh (case) and a number of incidents, we are worried that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will just delay this (IPCMC formation),” Arutchelvan told Malay Mail.

Last September, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told reporters the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) had been “upgraded” and is now known as the IPCMC.

Despite Dr Mahathir’s announcement, Arutchelvan claimed the government had not changed anything in the new investigative body.

“Because the (IPCMC) Bill was already ready even when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the prime minister, we see no reason why it needs to be delayed,” he added, referring to the year 2005 when the IPCMC Bill was mooted.

The pro-IPCMC group members were able to hand their memorandum to Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah who sits on the parliamentary select committee on reforms and governance.

Other PSC representatives who were there to receive the memorandum included Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto, Tanjong Malim MP Chang Lih Kang, Nibong Tebal MP Datuk Mansor Othman, Sekijang MP Natrah Ismail, Wangsa Maju MP Datin Paduka Tan Yee Kew, Labis MP Pang Hok Liong and Sungai Buloh MP Sivarasa Rasiah who is also the deputy minister of rural development.

Kasthuri, who is on the PSC for rights and gender equality, noted that the formation of the IPCMC was among the promises listed in the ruling Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto.

“We award accountability, integrity and we encourage our police force to be empowered in doing the right thing and to put an end to the abuses of power in the police station and outside as well,” she said.

The Malaysian Human Rights Commission incriminated Bukit Aman’s Special Branch in the “enforced disappearance” of Pastor Raymond Koh and Perlis Hope founder Amri Che Mat following the conclusion of its public inquiry, renewing calls for the formation of the IPCMC.

Since then, several federal lawmakers and civil society groups such as the National Patriots Association and former civil servants group G25 have voiced their support for the formation of the police oversight body.