On 3 April, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suahakam) presented its reports on missing persons Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh. It concluded that both were victims of “enforced disappearance”, and the police’s Special Branch was involved.
Patriot and G25 Malaysia are pleased that the Suhakam inquiry committee chaired by Mah Weng Kwai has brought the case to closure after 18 months with numerous witnesses called.
We are also concerned that the findings have further eroded public confidence in the police force where past missteps and bad governance during the previous administration have yet to be redeemed.
However painful this episode of forced disappearance may have been, what is most important for our society and nation, and particularly for the police force, is to move on.
We urge the police to be magnanimous, to be open and truthful. Revealing the missteps conducted under forced coercion during the unfortunate past should invite the reciprocal compassion and understanding of our people. While serious criminal conduct by individuals has to be dealt with, protecting the overall integrity of the police force ranks supreme.
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While Patriot and G25 appreciate the sacrifice and dedication of our security forces to their duty, they must also be made accountable for miscarriage of justice. This is in line with the institutional reforms for a responsible government as promised in the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto.
We strongly believe that the government should establish an independent police complaints and misconduct commission without further delay. In this way, there would be an independent body with close oversight of police functions which can conduct an immediate inquiry into incidents that give rise to concerns over abuse of police powers.
For example, any death of detainees in police lock- up cells must be immediately investigated by this commission. Any police shooting of suspects should also be investigated to determine if it was justified. All police forces in advanced countries have such a system of monitoring and verification to give confidence to the public that their interests against abuse of power are safeguarded.
Malaysia has to reboot. Our people have to relearn to trust, respect and accept one another across ethnic barriers. This includes trusting our institutions of governance, including the police force, to perform and deliver for the greater good of our nation.
Besides calling for our police force to act based on the findings of the Suhakam inquiry, we urge the Pakatan Harapan leaders to seriously start implementing reforms that will have foolproof checks and balances measures against any possible misgovernance by future ruling parties or coalitions.
Enforced disappearances must never ever happen again. Every single person – including those who oppose and express dissent, critics, of whatever colour or creed – is important. All Malaysians must stand shoulder to shoulder to meet the challenging time ahead of us.
Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan