No more delays, set up IPCMC immediately, say groups

General view of the 212th Police Day Parade at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
General view of the 212th Police Day Parade at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — There should not be any more delays in setting up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as the independent body is sorely needed to ensure a professional and accountable police force, a forum on the matter was told.

The independent body, if set up, will be crucial in addressing police abuse and complaints, a subject which has long been discussed by the public sphere as more and more supposed cases of power abuse, deaths in detention and impunity under the police emerge.

Datuk Mah Weng Kwai speaks at a forum by Suaram and EDICT (Eliminating Death and Abuse in Custody Together) on police responsibility and how IPCMC can help strengthen the police force July 16, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Datuk Mah Weng Kwai speaks at a forum by Suaram and EDICT (Eliminating Death and Abuse in Custody Together) on police responsibility and how IPCMC can help strengthen the police force July 16, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Human Rights of Commission Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai explained that the formation of the IPCMC is not solely meant to punish fellow police officers.

“It is not about punishment, but it is about having a commission that can help the efficiency, enhance police operations and enhance the management of the police force.

“What we are looking for really are checks and balances, to have adequate control mechanisms so that the police themselves will not be bias, will not discriminatory and keep to the highest ethical and professional standards.

“Like anybody else, the police must be open to criticism and be able to have questions asked for them to account for what has been done or what has not been done,” he said at a public forum yesterday.

The forum was hosted by Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (EDICT) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

Mah said the establishment of the IPCMC has been a long-standing issue since the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management mooted the idea in May 2005.

The RCI also came up with 125 other recommendation, which urged the police to adhere to human rights standards, improve accountability and other measures as a means to combat corruption and the culture of impunity within the police force, explained Mah.

M. Visvanathan speaks at a forum by Suaram and EDICT (Eliminating Death and Abuse in Custody Together) on police responsibility and how IPCMC can help strengthen the police force July 16, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May
M. Visvanathan speaks at a forum by Suaram and EDICT (Eliminating Death and Abuse in Custody Together) on police responsibility and how IPCMC can help strengthen the police force July 16, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Speaking at the event was also EDICT chairman M. Visvanathan who said the formation of the independent body would put a stop to the alleged culture of impunity within the police force.

“To simplify it, IPCMC must be set up. One of the main reasons is that the police cannot investigate the police. If there is wrongdoing, complaints against the police, the police cannot investigate themselves,” he said.

Visvanathan then gave an example of a purported episode of impunity within the force after the officer, who was involved in the custodial death of Syed Mohd Azlan Syed Mohamed in 2014, was promoted.

In the case of Syed Mohd Azlan, three police officers were charged under Section 304(b) over his death.

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