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IPCMC   Is PAS for or against?

                                               

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Blog Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  
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(London
, Saturday) : Presently in London to visit and study, among other things,  the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the Ombudsman system, parliamentary reform/ modernization and  information policy. 

 

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.

 

See: http://www.rmp.gov.my/rmp03/edisi_khas_ipcmc.htm

 

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 DONT NEED IT

(http://www.rmp.gov.my/rmp03/laporanIPCMC/wedontneedit.htm)
 

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.  Unconstitutional. 
 

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 IPCMCs 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 IGPs 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.

 

(27/05/2006)     
                                                      


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

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