Press Statement: Enforced disappearance with the involvement of the Police Force stems from the deeply ingrained culture of impunity

Press Statement: 3 April 2019

Enforced Disappearance with the Involvement of the Police Force Stems from the Deeply Ingrained Culture of Impunity

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) would like to congratulate the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) on its bold move and determination to unveil the truth surrounding the disappearance of Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh through a public inquiry set up last year.

Today, SUHAKAM ruled that both men were subjected to enforced disappearance with the involvement of the special branch of the Malaysian police force. SUHAKAM’s damning ruling demonstrates the deeply ingrained culture of impunity which is reinforced by decades of corruption and abuse of power – a culture that continues to plague our police force.

To end this culture, an independent oversight mechanism to ensure police accountability must be immediately put in place. It is worth reiterating that the government in Promise No. 20 of the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto has committed to ensuring police accountability, among others, by establishing an oversight body known as the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to look into complaints related to misconduct against the police force. On 22 September 2018, the Prime Minister announced that the IPCMC will be established soon.

While the move is a step in the right direction, it is worth reiterating that the government ought to take all necessary steps to ensure that the IPCMC functions with the highest degree of independence. Putting in place an independent oversight body is key to ensuring that the body operates effectively. Among the steps that can be taken to ensure the independence of the IPCMC is by empowering the IPCMC to initiate investigations on its own and order any action it deems fit, including discharge, suspension of allowances and increments, and demotion in the event a member of the police force is found guilty of wrongdoing.

In terms of appointment of the IPCMC’s commissioners, the recommendation put forth by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police in 2005 should be adopted – seven commissioners to be appointed by the King for a three-year term, and that the appointments should consist of people from the legal background and not from the police force, and should not include any former police officer.

We would like to emphasize that only with the establishment of the IPCMC can the culture of impunity deeply ingrained in the police force be effectively addressed and eventually brought to an end.

Given the seriousness of the matter, C4 Center calls on the police force to immediately apprehend and charge the former Inspector General of Police and Home Minister for their complicity in the heinous crime of abduction.

Released by:
Cynthia Gabriel
Executive Director, C4 Center

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