Despite Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s claim that Malaysian police have transformed and excelled in fighting crime, there are those who insist that the force would have been even better if the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) had been implemented.
Expressing their deep regret over government’s failure to establish the IPCMC in front of dozens of senior police officers, two former members of the royal commission on the police force insisted that Malaysians would be enjoying a better police force had the IPCMC been set up.
This position was expressed by former chief justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah (left), who had chaired two royal commissions on the police force, and former Bar Council president Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari, who sat on the two commissions.
"We heard the (home) minister really praising the police. In my view, if all the IPCMC recommendations were implemented, it will be a service recognised worldwide," Kuthubul said at a discussion session during the International Conference on Principled Policing in Subang Jaya, Selangor, today.
The two-day conference was attended by senior leaders of local and foreign police and enforcement agencies as well as international policing experts.
‘Still very disappointed with rejection’
Kuthubul elaborated that an independent complaint mechanism such as the IPCMC was a popular demand in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Dzaiddin, who moderated the session, echoed Kuthubul (right), saying that he was still "very disappointed" and "sad" with the government’s rejection of many important recommendations made by the two commissions.
Another speaker, UiTM constitutional law professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, described the government’s rejection of the IPCMC proposal as a "serious drawback" in ensuring that the men in blue acted according to the rule of law.
The rejection, Shad said, was the result of robust resistance within the police force and the lack of will from senior police officers to push for reforms.
Without the independent body, Shad explained, Malaysians had no remedy if the reports they lodged with the police or other enforcement agencies were not investigated and acted upon by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
The president of the International Movement for a Just World, Chandra Muzaffar, who was also invited to speak during the session, suggested that the IPCMC be "repackaged and reinstated" as an ombudsman that also covers other enforcement agencies in order to counter the negative perception of the IPCMC.
However, this argument was immediately demolished by Dzaiddin, who said the royal commission had rejected proposal for an ombudsman.
The IPCMC is the most important of 125 recommendations made by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police, which was established in 2004.
Despite overwhelming support for the IPCMC from civil society, the government gave in to police resistance and shelved the proposal, subsequently replacing it with a Special Complaints Commission, a watered-down version of the IPCMC.
The second commission chaired by Dzaiddin was the royal commission of inquiry to look into the infamous "’nude squat" case, in which a video recording of a female detainee being ordered to perform sit-ups in the nude while in police custody was leaked on the Internet.