The Malaysian Bar welcomes and supports Inspector General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun recent statement that the Royal Malaysian Police have no objections to the formation of an independent police complaints and misconduct commission (IPCMC) and “has already submitted a proposal to the Pakatan Harapan government for consideration”.
His receptiveness to external oversight of the police is a significant and crucial change from the position that had been taken by his predecessors, and must be lauded.
The establishment of an independent police complaints and misconduct commission was one of the 125 recommendations made by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police in its report published in May 2005.
The police complaints commission is to function as an independent and external oversight body to investigate complaints against police personnel. It is only through independent oversight that police personnel who abuse their power and act unlawfully may be identified and held accountable for their misconduct and criminal acts, including acts of negligence.
The Royal Commission had gone as far as to prepare a draft bill for the establishment of the complaints commission. Although 13 years have passed since the complaints commission was first mooted, it remains as relevant — if not more so — today as it was then.
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The complaints commission should be viewed as an independent body that will strengthen the police force as an enforcement agency, by helping it to uphold its motto – “Tegas, Adil dan Berhemah” (Firm, Fair and Prudent) – and not as an attempt to undermine the police.
The Malaysian Bar calls upon police officers who serve with dedication, honour and integrity — and there are many of them — to be courageous and extend their fullest support and cooperation to the government in respect of the establishment of the complaints commission, to prevent the good name of the police from being continually tarnished by the wrongdoers in their midst.
The Malaysian Bar recalls that Promise 20 of the ruling government’s election manifesto states that the complaints commission will be established in the first term of its administration. Furthermore, Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had, on his first day in office in May 2018, stated that the government would establish the complaints commission.
We urge the government to fulfil its pledge and establish the complaints commission without further delay.
George Varughese is president of the Malaysian Bar.