Putrajaya Withdraws Bills for PM Term Limit, IPCMC

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The federal government has recalled two items of proposed legislation that would have introduced a term limit for the position of the prime minister and external oversight of the police.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan informed Parliament that both the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill and Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2019 were withdrawn.

“I move to retract two Bills that are stated as number six and seven in the Order Paper today,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

The Perikatan Nasional government already said in March that it planned to withdraw the IPCMC Bill.

However, the withdrawal of the Bill to introduce a term limit for Malaysia’s prime minister came unannounced.

The Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2019 was tabled in December 2019 — when Pakatan Harapan was still in power — to limit the tenure of the prime minister to two terms and had been scheduled for debate in March.

It was tabled after then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said PH planned to limit the tenure of the prime minister, mentri besar and also chief ministers, to two terms.

The move to limit terms of the office-bearers and limit the tenure to two terms was among promises made by the PH coalition in its 14th General Election manifesto.

As for the IPCMC, it was first proposed by the 2004 Royal Commission of Inquiry to enhance the operation and management of the Royal Malaysian Police.

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.

Instead of proceeding for second reading, the IPCMC Bill has been replaced with the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) which was tabled for first reading today by deputy home minister Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamad Said.

Previously reported, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said the IPCC Bill would come under the Home Ministry’s purview unlike the previous IPCMC Bill which was mooted by Datuk Liew Vui Keong, who was the minister in charge of legal affairs at the time

In comparing the two Bills (IPCMC and IPCC), previously the IPCMC Bill proposed that “the Commission may initiate investigations (1) notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Act, the Commission may commence an investigation on its own initiative but only if the Commission is satisfied that the subject matter of the investigation is of significant interest to the public or that it is in the public interest to do so whether or not there is a complaint of misconduct relating to it”.

With the IPCC, however, the Commission, where findings disclose any offence under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will be referred to the MACC; where findings disclose any criminal offence under any written law will be referred to the relevant authority; where findings disclose any misconduct will be referred to the existing Police Force Commission with recommendations for disciplinary action and where findings disclose no misconduct a complaint will be rejected with the relevant head of department informed.

Other recommendations removed under the IPCC include the removal of suggested 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.

The IPCC Bill also excluded the suggestion for a Disciplinary Board which was initially proposed to have jurisdiction over misconduct.

This means that where the complaint of misconduct is against the Inspector-General of Police, the chief secretary to the government shall establish a Special Disciplinary Board to hear the complaint. 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.

The suggestion to establish a disciplinary board was also allowed to conduct proceedings to deal with misconduct upon completion of an investigation. – MMO