Home Civil Society Voices Enforced disappearances taskforce: Caged urges home ministry to work with police chief

Enforced disappearances taskforce: Caged urges home ministry to work with police chief

Family members of Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat

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Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (Caged) urges the Ministry of Home Affairs to support the expressed desire of the inspector general of police to reform the police force.

Caged responded on 10 July to the ministerial statement of the same date about the “taskforce” to probe the conclusion by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) that Amri Che Mat and Raymond Koh “were abducted by state agents namely, the Special Branch, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur”.

Caged has, from the outset, voiced the expectation that the ministry should demonstrate political will to reform the police.

Caged accepts the assessment by Inspector General of Police Hamid Bador, who has served in the force for 37 years, that the number of “dirty cops” is small. (This springs from what he said on 24 May 2019: “if there are 500 dirty cops, there are 125,000 more good cops.”)

Caged speaks for good cops, whether retired or still in service, and for the public who long for the Royal Malaysian Police to be a model police force.

Caged believes the evidence adduced during the Suhakam inquiry and included in its reports has severely tarnished the image of the police.

Caged notes that the negative impact on the police force is so serious that the inspector general has vowed to let the “taskforce” act independently.

Caged urges the ministry to support the inspector general by constituting a taskforce which will respond to that evidence quickly, comprehensively and publicly and thereby restore the image of the police.

Caged notes that it is over 100 days since the Suhakam reports were published, but the “taskforce” is still formless and void.

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Caged agrees with the Suhakam panel that the task force must report activities and outcomes to Suhakam and the public at regular intervals.

Caged stresses that the goal of the taskforce is to get this final response from Suhakam: “the issues our panel unearthed have been addressed.”

Sadly, to date, the ministry has seriously under-delivered. To date, Caged has listed seven reasons why the “taskforce” is bogus:

  1. unpublished terms of reference
  2. doubt over whether the terms of reference match those listed by Suhakam
  3. the appearance that the “investigation-to-be” is of the Suhakam reports instead of the police reports of disappearances and of the officers who committed misconduct during the purported police investigations to date – This is because the ministerial statements to date are silent about the statutory powers of the taskforce.
  4. the inclusion as a member of a serving police chief whose department should be investigated
  5. the inclusion as a member of an ex-judge with a conflict of interest
  6. the absence of an ex-judge from the Court of Appeal or Federal Court
  7. a baseless ministrerial claim that it is sub judice to investigate the Raymond Koh case while a “related” court case is pending.

Caged reminds the Ministry of Home Affairs that the moniker “bogus” will stick to the “taskforce” for as long as the seven concerns listed here are not addressed.

15 July 2019

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