25 July 2022
Responding to the possible tabling of the Independent Police Conduct Commission 2020 (IPCC) bill in parliament for second reading tomorrow, 26 July and 20 July passing of the extension of a provision under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) that allows for a 28-day detention period without trial, Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia said:
“The IPCC bill fails to address widespread public concerns about police misconduct, ongoing misuse of power against government critics, and custodial deaths. If passed, the bill would not promote accountability as the government claims, but rather shield police officers from scrutiny and independent oversight.
There is little doubt that Malaysia desperately needs an independent oversight commission for the police, but the IPCC bill instead further weakens the already inadequate oversight mechanism currently in place. This is why it must be rejected. Instead, the government must establish an independent and transparent oversight body with the power to investigate allegations of abuse by police officers and take concrete action, including carrying out searches and visits to places of detention, and compelling action and enforcing its decisions based on its findings.
Apart from creating a truly independent and effective oversight body, the government must also end the use of laws that enable police abuse, including the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA). Disappointingly, the members of parliament voted in support of the motion to extend its pre-trial detention clause on 20 July when the government re-tabled it in Parliament after it was voted down in March.
SOSMA violates basic human rights principles, as it permits the police to arrest and detain any person without warrant ostensibly over suspicion of involvement over security offences. The broad and vague definition of ‘security offences’ under the law has enabled it to be abused by the government, including to target critics and human rights defenders.
The law fails to meet international human rights standards, as set in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) guaranteeing unimpeded access to lawyers, and ensuring prisoners have full and effective access to prison life on an equitable basis. Rather, SOSMA authorises placing detainees in solitary confinement; detaining them incommunicado for 48 hours; and denies their access to the courts and/or lawyers for up to 28 days.
Since its enactment in 2012, it is clear that SOSMA is a draconian law that has led to arbitrary arrests and detention with no judicial oversight. Instead of extending the 28-day detention provision, the government must instead move to repeal SOSMA in its entirety.”
The Independent Police Conduct Commission 2020 (IPCC) bill is expected to be tabled for the second reading at this parliamentary session. The bill was first tabled in August 2020.
On 20 July the government re-tabled a motion to extend a provision under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) that allows for a 28-day detention period. A previous attempt to do so in March was voted down by members of parliament.