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IPCMC – Is PAS for or against?
I find it mind-boggling that the Royal Malaysian Police website has hosted a 12-page special edition dedicated to opposition to the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), which has taken the police insurbordination and revolt against the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to another brazen and completely unacceptable level.
Implicit in the police insurbordination and revolt against the principle of Cabinet Government and parliamentary democracy is the unprecedented threat that the police would support the Opposition against the Barisan Nasional in the next general election expected before April 2008 if the IPCMC proposal of the Royal Police Commission is implemented.
The question is – which Opposition would the police throw their votes in support if IPCMC is set up, if all Opposition parties are clear and categorical in their support for the IPCMC?
Is this the reason why recently, PAS stand on IPCMC seemed to have become quite wobbly, in hope of benefiting from a police swing against the Prime Minister, Barisan Nasional and UMNO over the issue?
Let all Opposition parties, in particular, PAS take a clear and unequivocal stand on the IPCMC issue – not to allow the police to flex it political muscles to hold the police beyond accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance principles.
Ten reasons have been advanced for the police opposition to the proposed IPCMC, reproduced below, which cannot stand up to any public scrutiny and debate:
IPCMC : WHY WE DON’T NEED IT
First : Lost of powers by politicians
The explicit and implicit
effect of the formation of IPCMC is that the real organ which exercise
powers of control over the Police will be the commissioners of the IPCMC and
NOT the Minister. Let politicians beware that they will eventually lose
powers, control and influence over a neutral, professional and
people-centered Police (as suggested by the Royal Commission).
Second : Police Force Commission or IPCMC? A choice
It would appear that if
and when IPCMC is formed, it has disciplinary powers over members of the
Force including dismissal and reduction in rank. These powers are currently
within the domain of the Police Force Commission (“PFC”) a constitutional
body headed by Minister –in- charge of the Police. It is untenable that an
organ created by an Act of parliament usurping the function if a body which
is a creature of the Constitution. There will be complication as well since
the IPCMC has no power to hire but endowed with right to fire.
Third : No clear, urgent and pressing need
Justification for its existence not compelling. The Police are already answerable and accountable to Parliament through Minister of Internal Security
There is a strong system of external monitoring and, internally, there is adequate supervision through PFC and a strong leadership at Bukit Aman.
Fourth : Against the Federal Constitution
Certain provisions of the Bill may offend Article 4 and 7, may breach Article 8, 135, 140 and 145 (3 of the Federal Constitution.
Fifth : Against the Rule of Law
Conducting investigation and hearing outside the purview of rules and practice of evidence, and no right of appearance or representation in a hearing go against the grain of the Rule of Law. This blatant infringement of rights cannot be countenanced under any pretext.
Sixth : Breach of Natural Justice
It is settled law that right to be heard cannot be denied to a condemned person. If a hearing is done behind his back, he is tried in absentia. He has the right to know and be allowed to examine evidence against him. The rules of Natural Justice are the minimum standards of fair decision-making imposed on persons and consists of the right to a fair hearing and the rule against bias.
Seventh : Discriminatory : Equality under the law and equal protection before the law
The Police is already subjected to Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993. The IPCMC Act will impose on it another layer of punishment separate and distinct from other law enforcement agencies in this country.
The Commissioners are given wide powers which can override laws and secrecy, privilege, self-incrimination and evidence.
Police are asked to respect the laws, follow rules and uphold human rights. But these can be denied to the Police Officers themselves. Discriminatory.
Eight : Ouster Clause : A Denial of Justice
It bring no credit to IPCMC that they need a comfort clause to protect themselves. Their judgment cannot be infallible. It must be susceptible to judicial review. It will bring immeasurable harm to Police if IPCMC’s decision cannot be reviewed.
Ninth : The environment is not right yet
The police must first be better aquipped and trained to reach the standard of policing in the developed countries. If facilities are in place and the government is ready (when the Police is required to be neutral and people-centric) only then IPCMC could be considered with suitable amendments to the Bill in fairness to the Police.
Tenth : Compromising Command of IGP
The IGP’s command and control system will be undermined since not only he has to serve the Minister but also IPCMC. It must be remembered that the Police is a security organ of the Federal Government which has to deal, inter-alia, the threat of terrorism. It is not in the best interest of this country to have an IGP subservient to a lay person.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission