Responding to the latest draft of the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill 2020, Katrina Maliamauv, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia said:
“The IPCC Bill is gravely concerning because it is merely a watered-down version of the previous IPCMC Bill which was already flawed.”
“The proposed IPCC does not have adequate powers to conduct full and thorough investigations or to take sufficient action against police officers found to have committed misconduct. The “independence” of this proposed commission is also deeply compromised. If this commission cannot ensure effective oversight of the police, then it will fail in serving its ultimate purpose.
“Malaysians deserve a police commission that balances the powers of law enforcement officials and ensures that individual police officers, as well as the police agency in general, respect the rule of law. At a time when police brutality has taken the forefront of international discussion, it is regretful that the authorities are so reluctant to table a Bill that would hold the police to account for abuse.
“The police are not exempt from upholding human rights standards. We urge the government to take its obligation to end police abuses seriously, by amending this bill and upholding the recommendations by the Royal Commission for a robust, independent police complaints and misconduct commission.”
The Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) was first proposed by the 2004 Royal Commission of Inquiry to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police.
In July 2019 a draft bill was tabled in Parliament. Civil society organisations, including Amnesty International, criticised the bill for granting insufficient powers and independence to ensure its effectiveness.
The bill was then tabled with 24 amendments for the second reading in October 2019 before being referred for further review to the parliamentary special select committee, which reportedly made 12 additional amendments. Unfortunately, the Pakatan Harapan administration postponed the planned December tabling of this amended bill and the coalition collapsed at the end of February 2020.
SUHAKAM previously implicated the police in the enforced disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat, but no action has been taken against the alleged perpetrators.
Other human rights organisations, including the government-founded National Commission of Human Rights (SUAHAKAM), SUARAM, and Human Rights Watch, have also expressed disappointment at the contents of the IPCC Bill, expressing alarm that the proposed IPCC could be even more ineffective than the current Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC).