Will Independent Police Conduct Commission ever see light?

Will Independent Police Conduct Commission ever see light? 210310 TT13

A criminologist has raised doubts if a commission to investigate police misconduct will be set up in Malaysia soon, if ever, given that Parliament is not in session and a general election is on the horizon.

With the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill 2020 only having gone through its first reading in Parliament last August, Assoc Prof Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy says the lack of willpower to push for the setting up of the commission is evident.

“The move has been stalled for such a long time and it appears to be the least of priorities despite a growing number of police misconduct cases in the country,” said Sundramoorthy, a lecturer from Universiti Sains Malaysia.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), had last month, revealed it received 479 complaints related to excessive use of force and abuse of power by the police between 2015 and 2020.

The current government’s IPCC Bill 2020, was to replace the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill 2019 introduced by Pakatan Harapan when it was in government. The IPCMC Bill was tabled 15 years after it was mooted.

The new IPCC Bill contains most of the provisions under the IPCMC Bill, including the commission’s power to initiate investigations and for police to refer to the commission on incidents involving sexual crimes, grievous hurt or death of those under detention or custody.

The commission will also have the power to investigate a written complaint of misconduct, collect evidence relating to the alleged misconduct and make recommendations for disciplinary action against the policeman or officer involved.

Unlike the IPCMC, the provision to empower the commission to set up a disciplinary board to hear complaints was excluded from the IPCC.

“We just need a commission to investigate police misconduct but the top brass of the police force has over the years been resisting this attempt.”

There are those who claim the commission is redundant as the police have an Integrity and Standard Compliance Department (JIPS).

“The police are viewed as being guardians of society but who are guarding them? We cannot expect JIPS to investigate their fellow colleagues as there will be doubts if the department will be fair and just.

“JIPS can continue to exist but the public, including non-citizens, must have a right to refer cases to the commission. There can be a filtering system where some cases will be handled by JIPS but the commission must also be able to monitor the cases,” he said.

Sundramoorthy said delays in setting up the commission will further erode public trust in the police force.

“People say it is difficult to take action against a civil servant but this is not true. Those who do wrong cannot just receive a slap on the wrist just because they are civil servants.

“There have been reports of police officers being involved in the Macau scam. If they are on the take, rightfully they should be charged with abetting. But how often do we hear this?”

Sundramoorthy added the commission should not be looking just at fresh cases but also at old complaints.

“Sometimes complaints are made against a police officer, despite months, even years of waiting, there is no acknowledgement from the police,” he said.

He added members of the commission should not just be retired judges or top civil servants but must comprise civil society groups.

“There should also be a fair representation according to gender, with diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds,” he added.

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

NON-MUSLIMS CAN USE THE WORD ALLAH, RULES HIGH COURT

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today ruled the word Allah can be used by non-Muslims.

It also said other prohibited words like Baitullah, Kaabah and solat, which were banned by the Cabinet in 1986, could be used for teaching purposes as they have been in use for more than 400 years.

Court of Appeal judge Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin, who presided as High Court judge, allowed the judicial review application filed by Sarawak Melanau clerk Jill Ireland against the Home Ministry.

The judge said the directive by the Home Ministry not to allow the use of the four prohibited words, including Allah, is filled with illegality and irrationality.

Noor Bee allowed Ireland’s declaration and ruled that the use of the words would not disrupt public order.

MUHYIDDIN CONCLUDES ‘SUCCESSFUL’ VISIT TO SAUDI

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said his four-day official visit to Saudi Arabia was successful as Saudi Arabia may increase its palm oil import from 318,000 tonnes worth RM900 million last year to 500,000 tonnes.

Malaysia has also received an additional 10,000 places under its haj quota and there was a signing of a memorandum of understanding to ease and simplify the pre-clearance process for Malaysian haj and umrah pilgrims.

The prime minister has now begun his official visit to the United Arab Emirates which is Malaysia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East.

TOURISM MINISTER SAYS ‘TRAVEL BUBBLE’ IS FIRST STEP TOWARDS RECOVERY

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri says the ‘travel bubble’, which allows tourism between states under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), will open up space and opportunities for businesses in the sector to return to full operations.

Nancy said her ministry was grateful the National Security Council (NSC) has allowed direct activities for the creative industry in RMCO and Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) zones.

Tourism, and live events such as official government functions, music, dance, arts and comedy are allowed from today as is outside shooting for films and commercials.

Separately, Malaysia is in the process of establishing travel bubbles with Singapore, Brunei, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Discussions with Indonesia are ongoing.

AZMIN WANTS MALAYSIA TO ATTRACT HIGH-QUALITY INVESTORS

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali has announced the government will introduce a national investment policy to attract more high-quality investors.

Azmin, who is also Senior Minister, said a working paper on the proposed policy had been approved and endorsed by the Economic Action Council and will be presented to the Cabinet this month.

A NOISY CLASSROOM IS AN EFFECTIVE CLASSROOM

Global Oak Tree Scholars (GOTS) International School co-founder Veronica Shepherdson is a firm believer in the power of collaboration between teachers and students.

She says if the classroom is quiet, it means there is no communication. When the kids are talking and interacting with the teacher, learning happens.

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