Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (Caged) is appalled at the government’s lack of care about police impunity in the abduction and disappearance of Amri Che Mat and Raymond Koh.
Members of the government seem as numb as the police.
Why is the cabinet not billowing with rage over the fact that the police are tongue-tied over actions they have taken against cops involved in the superficial investigation and cover-up of the abductions of Amri and Raymond?
Horrendous police actions and inactions were publicly displayed over the 18 months of the Suhakam inquiry. Yet the cabinet is silent.
Eight months ago, Suhakam concluded the evidence-collection phase of its inquiry into the abductions of Amri and Raymond. [The last hearing day (Day 20) was on 7 December 2018; two police officers gave evidence on that day.]
Eight months ago, the police department with responsibility for integrity and compliance to standards (JIPS) was aware of potential charges of misconduct against numerous officers.
Eight months on, the public doesn’t know what action, if any, JIPS has taken against any of them.
Caged and many others have publicly complained that Zamri Yahya, the head of JIPS, should not be a member of the (bogus) “independent” taskforce to pursue Suhakam’s conclusion that “the Special Branch did it”. Why? Because Zamri himself should be investigated by the taskforce. He plainly has a conflict of interest.
We have also publicly complained that Zamri’s boss, Hamid Bador, the Inspector General of Police, should have ordered Zamri off the “taskforce” because Zamri has a conflict of interest.
Since the government is numb and dumb, what recourse do we have?
The police and the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) have processes for receiving complaints from the public. But Caged has not complained to either of them.
Caged has not lodged a complaint with the police because after what was revealed about the police during the Suhakam inquiry, only the insane will believe the police will investigate themselves fairly in this matter. Caged is not insane. Furthermore, the head of the complaints process is Zamri!
Caged has not lodged a complaint with the EAIC either, because, well, as we’ve said before, the EAIC is a toothless tiger.
Suhakam’s reports on Amri and Raymond included a recommendation that the government establishes an Independent Complaints AND Misconduct Commission. (AND is capitalised because the IPCMC Bill tabled by de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong in Parliament on 18 July has substituted “and” with “of”.)
Many have asked whether Caged will complain about Zamri and Hamid to the IPCMC proposed in the bill. The following is our response.
First, the subject matter of our complaint is conflict of interest. The bill is for misconduct only, not complaints. Furthermore, the bill says “misconduct shall not include any act regulated under … [the Police Regulations] and [the Police Standing Orders]” [Clause 22(2)]. Since the Police Regulations and Standing Orders are official secrets and conflict of interest is likely to be in them, our complaint may be rejected by the IPCMC.
Second, however, the bill includes as misconduct “any act which is unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory” [Clause 22(1)(c)]. So, if we assume conflict of interest is not regulated by the Police Regulations or Standing Orders (shocking if true), we may lodge a complaint that Zamri “unreasonably” accepted a role in the taskforce.
Third, if we did lodge a complaint, the complaints committee may refer our complaint to an IPCMC officer and instruct him to investigate [Clause 25(c)].
Fourth, the IPCMC officer may order Zamri to appear before him for oral examination and may order Zamri to give a written sworn statement laying out all the information “which would be of assistance in the investigation” by a specified time [Clause 26(1)(b)].
Fifth, if the officer submits a finding of misconduct to the committee and the committee agrees with his or her finding, the committee will refer the finding of misconduct to the commission “for the purpose of commencing of proceedings to deal with a misconduct” [Clause 28(2)(c)] and will inform the complainant (Caged) of the action taken [Clause 28(3)].
Sixth, the commission’s disciplinary board will choose and hand down the punishment, from one of the following: warning, fine, forfeiture of emoluments, deferments of salary movements, reduction in rank or dismissal [Clause 33(1)(a-g)]. We note that the board appears not to have power to question the conclusion of the committee.
If we complain about the inspector-general and the committee agrees to investigate, it is unclear to what extent the above process applies. This is because the bill requires a “Special Disciplinary Board” to be set up “to hear the complaint” [Clause 31(4)].
Will the IPCMC accept our complaints of conflicts of interest? If it does, how long will it take to complete the investigation? Will it find them guilty?
Caged has noted that unlike the IPCMC Bill drafted by the Royal Commission on the police in 2005, the ambit of the IPCMC Bill does not include retired or former police officers. [Clause 14(3) of the 2005 draft IPCMC Bill reads “Misconduct of a police officer may be dealt with, or continue to be dealt with, under this Act even though any police officer involved has ceased to be a police officer. Accordingly, references in this Act to a police officer extend, where appropriate, to include a former police officer.”]