3 MAY 2019

Amnesty International Malaysia is concerned about the Prime Minister’s seeming indecision with regard to setting up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), one of the pledges made by Pakatan Harapan in its election manifesto. This comes after the Prime Minister’s announcement that the government will listen to public opinion first before making a decision, following the Inspector-General of Police’s objection to the commission. Responding to this, Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia, said:

“Time and time again we have seen the Malaysian government making U-turns on their promises even now that we are entering Pakatan Harapan’s second year in power. The letter of objection from the Inspector-General of Police is a delaying tactic, and the government should not use public opinion as a pretext for buckling under pressure.

“The setting up of the IPCMC is particularly urgent in light of the high number of deaths in police custody and of impunity in detention centers. In March 2017, the then Home Minister, Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, stated in response to a Parliamentary question that over 1,600 cases of death in custody were recorded in Malaysia between 2010 and February 2017. More recently, in April 2019, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) found that activist Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh were victims of enforced disappearance, carried out with the support of state agents. The IPCMC should be a mechanism to bring justice to victims of violence, deaths in custody, and enforced disappearances, by ensuring accountability of members of the police force who are found to be involved in these abuses.

“This external and independent complaint mechanism and oversight body should have the necessary powers, resources and specialised skills to deal specifically with complaints involving the police. There is no single model, such as the current Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), for systems of accountability. Different types of structures are essential to ensure that police powers are not abused and those found guilty of misconduct are held to account.

“Police accountability is a major issue, and the government should expedite the creation of the IPCMC in line with Pakatan Harapan’s election promise. We urge the Malaysian Government to muster the political will to set up the IPCMC to help ensure accountability in the police force, and, to complement this, ratify the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED).”