IPCC Bill passed in Dewan Rakyat

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The controversial Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill 2020, which deals with complaints about police misconduct, was passed by a voice vote in Dewan Rakyat today.

This is despite civil society and opposition parties raising concern over the lack of enforcement power in IPCC to act against errant police officers.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said the bill is meant to improve the integrity of the police force, reduce misconduct among police personnel and improve public confidence in the men in blue.

In an immediate response, Pakatan Harapan said the IPCC Bill does not fulfil the desired institutional reform.

“It has many flaws and it is weaker if compared with the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) and the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC),” Harapan said in a statement today.

Bernama

The opposition coalition added that it did not support the bill as it has no investigative powers like the EAIC.

“The commission members are not neutral and can be removed at any time, without reason. The secretary of the commission is appointed by the minister while the EAIC appoints its own secretary.

“The IPCC does not allow the commission to examine matters under the Standing Orders of the Chief of Police (IGSO) and there is no provision for a disciplinary body to be set up,” Harapan leaders said.

The statement was jointly endorsed by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke and Upko president Madius Tangau.

Watered down version

IPCC was introduced to replace the IPCMC Bill that had been tabled for first reading by the Harapan administration in July 2019.

This was 14 years after the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police recommended the creation of an independent body to address complaints against the police.

However, the IPCMC Bill was referred to the Parliament’s Special Select Committee for further discussion three months later.

The bill was again sent to the Dewan Rakyat for first reading by the Harapan government in December 2019 with 37 amendments made.

A comparison showed that the IPCC Bill was significantly watered down from the previous IPCMC Bill.

One key difference is that the IPCC will not be able to take any action against errant police officers. Instead, action must be referred to the Police Force Commission or other relevant authorities for further action.

The IPCC also lost the ability to review complaints against police officers who do not comply with rules or standard operating procedures, who do not justify their actions when justification should be provided, and who commit criminal offences.

However, the IPCC does expand on the IPCMC by requiring police to report to the commission cases of sexual offences under police custody, on top of injuries or death in detention cases. – Malaysiakini