I welcome the undertaking by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Paul Low to raise the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) proposal at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, although the value of such an undertaking suffers serious detraction when Low refused to say if he would support its formation.
The country does not need a Minister acting as super-postman in Cabinet just to raise a particular proposal brought to him but an ardent advocate who is prepared to fight tooth and nail for the proposal to be adopted by the Cabinet.
Does Low considers himself as a super-postman or an ardent advocate of IPCMC at the Cabinet tomorrow?
It does not speak very much for the integrity which Low is supposed to infuse in the Najib administration when he himself is not prepared to state his stand on IPCMC.
Earlier today, the Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government wants two weeks to study existing provisions for disciplinary cases within the police force before it can look into whether to implement the IPCMC.
Is this what Low is going to be told by the new Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi tomorrow?
If so, what is the worth and value of Low’s assurance that he would raise the issue of IPCMC in Cabinet tomorrow?
With three deaths in police custody in eleven days, against a backdrop of 221 deaths in custody in the country since 2,000, Malaysians are tired of excuses and procrastinations but want immediate action by the Cabinet to end the outrageously high rate of deaths in police custody every month since 2,000.
When the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission of Inquiry submitted its report in May 2005, it reported police statistics of 80 deaths in police custody in the five years from January 2000 to December 2004, or an annual average of 16 deaths in police custody in those five years.
With 221 deaths in police custody from 2,000 to now, which means 141 deaths from Jan 2005 to May 2013, this works out to a higher annual average of deaths in police custody in the 8 ½ years, i.e. 16.6 deaths.
This is completely unacceptable.
This is what the Dzaiddin Police RCI has to say about deaths in police custody in its 2005 Report:
“2.3.9 The Commission also notes with concern that the number of deaths in police custody for the period 2000 – 2004 is 80 deaths. Of even greater concern is the fact that inquiries were held for only 6 of the 80 deaths. In 22 other cases, either the Magistrate or the DPP had decided that an inquiry is not necessary contrary to s334 of the CPC.”
The Commission earlier noted that “there are many matters” relating to deaths in police custody “which need to be addressed by PDRM to clear the suspicion of foul play which the public has of the police in the handling of such cases.”
The police do not handle cases on deaths in police custody in a professional manner or in accordance with the law and had thereby created a lot of suspicion and distrust on the thoroughness of the investigation into the death of the suspect and again this had contributed to the perception that PDRM is not transparent.
The insensitivity of the police to the feelings of the family members of the person who died in police custody had caused much ill feelings towards the police. There is inconsistency in the manner in which the police have handled cases of deaths in police custody.
The Dzaiddin RCI’s recommendation of an IPCMC is not only to provide a satisfactory, accountable and transparent mechanism to deal with cases of deaths in police custody, but also to bring the incidence of deaths in police custody to a minimum.
Unfortunately, in the past eight years, deaths in police custody have continued apace as to reach a slightly higher annaul average.
This itself should justify a policy decision to be taken by the Cabinet tomorrow for the establishment of IPCMC to ensure an efficient, trustworthy, incorruptible, professional world-class police force.
The Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council at its meeting yesterday has set up a six-member IPCMC Parliamentary Task Force with the specific objective to establish the IPCMC when the 13th Parliament meets on June 24 for its first meeting.
The establishment of the IPCMC can become a reality if there are 23 Barisan Nasional MPs who are prepared to join the 89 Pakatan Rakyat MPs to support the establishment of the IPCMC when the 13th Parliament starts its meeting on June 24.
The MPs on the Pakatan Rakyat IPCMC Parliamentary Task Force are:
M. Kulasegaran (DAP – Ipoh Barat)
Gobind Singh Deo (DAP – Puchong)
N. Surendran – (PKR – Padang Serai)
Shamsul Iskandar – (PKR – Bukit Katil)
Mohamed Hanifa Maidin – (PAS – Sepang)
Siti Mariah Mahmud – (PAS – Kota Raja)