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Emergency public consultation on Monday night on the stand that MPs should take on the fraudulent IPCMC Bill which will be debated in Parliament on Tuesday or Wednesday

Media Conference          
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): I am convening an emergency public consultation in Kuala Lumpur on Monday night on the stand that Members of Parliament should take on the fraudulent Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Bill (IPCMC) which will be debated in Parliament on Tuesday or Wednesday – the last day of the 46-day sitting of the current parliamentary meeting.

I regret that time is so short with only two days to convene such a public consultation when there should be a series of such public consultations in various parts of the country in view of the importance of the proposed legislation based on the most important recommendation of the Royal Police Commission to create an efficient, incorruptible, accountable, professional world-class police service with three core functions – to keep crime low, to eradicate corruption in the police and to protect human rights.

The Special Complaints Commission (SCC) Bill was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday and will be debated for passage on Tuesday or Wednesday before the adjournment of Parliament until next March.

The SCC Bill admitted in its explanatory statement that its genesis came from the IPCMC proposal - “This Bill is introduced as a result of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police and it is intended to cover not only the police officers but also all enforcement officers at the Federal level.”

Most unfortunately however, the SCC is a completely different animal from the one conceived and recommended by the IPCMC – in fact it makes a total mockery of the IPCMC proposal as to warrant the SCC Bill to be billed as a fraudulent IPCMC Bill.

The whole ration d’etre for the IPCMC proposal, the most important of its 125 recommendations for police reform, was spelt out by the Royal Police Commission in Chapter 6 its Report on “Modernise the Role, Functions and Organisations of the Royal Malaysia Police” (p. 189), viz:

“One effective means of ensuring that doctrines, laws, rules and procedures are observed and implemented is by the establishment of an external oversight body. This method has been adopted by many modern policing systems whose experience has been that internal mechanisms alone are inadequate, unreliable and frequently ineffective. Police culture is often inward-looking and closed and mindsets are usually resistant to change. Changes in leadership can also lead to changes in commitment to service excellence, discipline and performance. Society cannot therefore rely on internal mechanisms alone to ensure PDRM effectively implements and abides by rules and regulations. The establishment of an external oversight agency for PDRM would be a profoundly important development in the governance of this important organization. It will mark a quantum step forward in enhancing accountability and help restore and sustain the confidence of the people and the private sector in PDRM.”

The SCC Bill however has made complete nonsense of the Royal Police Commission’s proposal for an independent external oversight mechanism by proposing that one of the three permanent members of the SCC should be none other than the Inspector-General of Police – when the Royal Police Commission had gone out of the way to specifically propose that no serving or former members of the police force should be appointed Commissioners of IPCMC!

Whether the Royal Police Commission’s idea and proposal for an independent external oversight mechanism to curb police abuses and misconduct should be expanded to include all other national enforcement agencies is a matter for debate but what is unacceptable and most objectionable is the corruption of the concept of an independent oversight commission by the inclusion of the Inspector-General of Police as one of the permanent Commissioners.

With the IGP as a permanent commissioner, all notions of “independent, external oversight mechanism” are repudiated and rejected - why it is no exaggeration to describe the SCC Bill as a fraudulent IPCMC Bill.

Two other major subversions of the IPCMC proposal of the Royal Police Commission are:

• Removal and omission of “corruption” of police force from the ambit and terms of reference of the SCC, completely contrary to the intentions of the Royal Police Commission which had highlighted the function to “prevent, detect and investigate corruption and other serious misconduct in PDRM” as a major challenge of IPCMC.

• Limiting the SCC to the passive role to receive and investigate complaints of misconduct, in contrast to the “activist” role of the IPCMC to “initiate an investigation of its own even without receipt of a complaint”.

It is ridiculous and outrageous that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz should dismiss with contempt the critics of the SCC Bill as “ignoramuses“ who did not fully understand how the country’s law enforcement and legal system worked.

Nazri rubbished claims that the SCC was a watered-down version of the IPCMC as proposed by the Royal Police Commission in 2005.

Nazri has given another example of speaking before thinking. He does not seem to realize that he has in one fell swoop, dismissed Malaysians who had reached the pinnacle of their respective profession or vocation, like Tun Dzaiddin who was former Chief Justice and Tun Hanif Omar who was the country’s longest-serving Inspector-General of Police, as “ignoramuses” of the country’s enforcement and legal system.

One can disagree as to whether Dzaiddin and Hanif are the nation’s best Chief Justice or IGP respectively, but to castigate them as “ignoramuses” are serious reflections on the de facto Minister and the entire history and system of governance in Malaysia.

In this case, it is Nazri who is more of an “ignoramus” than Dzaiddin, as the former Chief Justice is clearly right when he expressed his deep disappointment at the SCC Bill “as something entirely different from what we recommended”. Surely Dzaiddin is the most qualified person to make such a statement and Nazri is no position whatsoever to contract Dzaiddin on the matter.

Nazri also defended the exclusion of corruption allegations from the terms of reference of the SCC on the ground that any wrongdoing which had an element of corruption would be dealt with by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

If so, why then is the Director-General of the ACA another permanent Commissioner of the SCC – to ensure that corruption allegations are not dealt with in any manner by the SCC?

The Emergency Public Consultation on what stand MPs should take on the fraudulent IPCMC Bill when it comes up for debate on Tuesday or Wednesday will be held at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Auditorium on Monday, 17th December 2007 at 7.30 pm.

All the 16 Commissioners of the Royal Police Commission, including the Chairman Dzaiddin and Deputy Chairman Hanif, are invited to the public consultation. This open invitation also goes out to all professional bodies and NGOs like the Bar Council, Suaram, Hakam and all Malaysians and NGIs – individuals deeply concerned about issue of IPCMC and the creation of a world-class professional police service in Malaysia.

As time is so short, whether in inviting speakers or participants, I hope that this media conference announcing the emergency public consultation will serve as an invitation to all concerned Malaysians to come together on Monday night to give public feedback to MPs as to what stand they should take on the fraudulent SCC Bill.

This invitation is also extended to all MPs and political parties – and I will personally invite Nazri to the public consultation when I meet him in Parliament on Monday.

Those who are interested in the Emergency Public Consultation can also liaise with the DAP MPs in the Federal Territory, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong), Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang), Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), Teresa Kok (Seputeh) or with Lau Weng San – 016 3231563.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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