August 26, 2020 (PN)
The federal Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has recalled both the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill and the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2019 that limits the tenure of the Prime Minister (PM) post to two terms.
The IPCMC was first proposed by the 2004 Royal Commission of Inquiry to enhance the operation and management of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) while the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2019 was tabled in December 2019 by the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, to limit the tenure of the PM, Menteri Besar and also Chief Ministers to the said terms.
Prior to this, in July 2019 the IPCMC Bill was tabled in Parliament with 24 amendments and was slated for Second Reading in October 2019 before being referred for further review to the parliamentary special select committee, which reportedly made 12 additional amendments.
As a substitute to the IPCMC Bill, the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill presented in the last Parliament session is the watered-down version of the IPCMC, which refers to findings of improper misconducts among police personnel to be subjected to the existing Police Force Commission (PFC) for recommended disciplinary action.
The IPCC also lacks proper safeguards and procedures to enable a comprehensive review of police misconduct.
The differences between the bills are set out as follows:
|No power to set up a disciplinary board to address complaints||Has the power to set up a disciplinary board to address complaints|
|The Bill excludes the suggestion for a Disciplinary Board which was initially proposed to have jurisdiction over misconduct.||Chief Secretary to the Government can set up a Special Disciplinary Board to hear complaints against the Inspector-General of Police*|
|Does not have any disciplinary powers over any misconduct committed by any member of the police force||Has disciplinary authority over any misconduct committed by any member of the police force and the powers to exercise disciplinary jurisdiction over any complaint concerning the misconduct of any member of the police force.|
|Any findings by the Commission would have to be reverted to the Police Force Commission (PFC) or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), depending on the nature and scope of the crime, with recommendations for disciplinary action by their respective institutions||The Commission is allowed to receive, assess and investigate complaints of misconduct against any member of the police force independently.|
*The proceedings before the Special Disciplinary Board shall be conducted in accordance with regulations made under Article 132 of the Federal Constitution — which no longer stands with the IPCC.
Furthermore, the ambiguity in the language of the IPCC Bill, which states that the Commission “shall refer the findings to the relevant authority”, does not specify whether the “relevant authority” is the Attorney-General’s office or the police, nor does it empower the Commission to take follow-up action if no investigation is pursued.
The lack of investigative and enforcement power of the proposed Commission under the IPCC is a cause for concern as the proposed Commission would have no authority to compel the relevant bodies to act, or even to require the PFC to report back on its actions.
Overall, the IPCC is a downgraded version of the already weak IPCMC Bill (it did not give prosecutorial power to the Commission) and this significantly affects our ability to hold the police accountable and to provide justice for the victims of police misconduct and brutality.