IPCMC Bill – make public after Cabinet Wednesday to give MPs and civil society at least two weeks to study

The current 42-day budget meeting of Parliament scheduled to end on Dec. 13 has been extended by three days till Dec. 19 to debate a spate of bills, seven of which had been presented for first reading while several others have yet to be brought to the House.

One of the bills which have yet to be presented for first reading but which the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has promised would be debated before the end of the current parliamentary meeting is the long-delayed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill proposed by the Royal Police Commission as the most important of its 125 recommendations to create an incorruptible, efficient, professional world-class police service.

The Royal Police Commission had proposed the IPCMC as the centre-piece of its police reform proposals to achieve what it recommended should be the three core objectives of the Police – to keep crime low, eradicate corruption in the police force and uphold human rights.

The Royal Police Commission placed such importance and priority on its IPCMC proposal that it even took the trouble to include a draft IPCMC Bill in its Report to facilitate its establishment, which it envisaged should begin to be operational by May 2006.

However, the Police mounted a strong opposition to the IPCMC proposal threatening even an open revolt in the initial stages, with some top police officers blatantly displaying insubordination to the political masters of the day.

More than 18 months have elapsed from the timeline proposed by the Royal Police Commission for the establishment of the IPCMC, and we are still waiting for the proposed IPCMC bill to surface into the public domain.

The question is whether the final IPCMC Bill when presented to Parliament will still be recognized as basically constituting the external oversight mechanism to check police abuses of power as proposed by the Royal Police Commission or so shorn of the substantive features and “teeth” of the IPCMC proposed by the Royal Police Commission as to be a completely different creature altogether.

The protracted delay in implementing the most important recommendation of the Royal Police Commission in establishing an IPCMC symbolizes widespread and deep-seated public disillusionment with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s failures in the past four years to “walk the talk” to honour his reform pledges for the public service and national institutions.

As a result, the three core functions for the police highlighted by the Royal Police Commission had suffered the worst.

Firstly, crime and the fear of crime have worsened since the Royal Police Commission Report two-and-a-half years ago in May 2005, becoming endemic and a nightmare to Malaysians, tourists and investors.

Even Malaysian angkasawan Mej Dr. Faiz Khaleed was not spared when he sustained injuries requiring more than 100 stitches from two parang-wielding men during a robbery outside his house in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

The Chinese press today highlighted two crimes illustrating the tragedy that nobody in Malaysia today is safe or could feel safe anymore — the irony of lawyer and KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Wanita chief, Lee Sok Wah, being a victim of snatch theft herself after repeatedly warning the public to be on the lookout for such crime. In Johore Baru, a female undergraduate was nearly abducted by two Indonesian males while waiting at a bus stop in Skudai for her family to pick her up on her return home from Malacca.

Crime index has continued to soar since the publication of Royal Police Commission Report, although the report in May 2005 had expressed alarm at the “high incidence of crime” — which “increased dramatically in the last few years, from 121,176 cases in 1997 to 156,465 cases in 2004, an increase of 29 per cent”.

The Royal Police Commission Report said this increase “seriously dented Malaysia’s reputation as a safe country” and called on the police to “allot the highest priority to the campaign against crime”, proposing an immediate crime-reduction target of a minimum of 20 per cent decrease in the number of crimes committed for each category within 12 months.

The reverse had however taken place in the past 30- months — as there was not only no reduction in the crime index, there was galloping crime instead!.

In the first nine months of this year, the crime index stands at 163,802 cases — which already exceeds the crime statistics for the whole of 2004, i.e. 156,465 cases, which the Royal Police Commission had found “alarming” and unacceptable. For the whole of 2007, the crime index would gallop and soar to exceed 200,000 cases for the first time in the nation’s history.

Just to give one illustration to show the gravity in the deterioration of crime – there were nine reported cases of rape a day in the first nine months of this year as compared to four cases a day in 2003 and 6.7 cases a day in 2006!

This is one price being paid by ordinary Malaysians for the delay in the establishment of the IPCMC, which would have the power to hold the Police to account for such failure in crime control.

As for the other two core police functions recommended by the Royal Police Commission – to eradicate corruption and protect human rights — police records in the past two-and-a-half- years are sorry tales of going backwards instead of charting progress.

The Cabinet on Wednesday should not sit on the IPCMC Bill any longer but release it to the public for the fullest public discussion and debate, as it would also involve a review of the success and failure of the 125 recommendations of the Royal Police Commission to create an incorruptible, efficient, professional world-class police service.

If the decision to make the IPCMC Bill public is not taken next Wednesday, there are only two other Cabinet meetings left, Dec. 6 and 13, before the end of the current parliamentary meeting – which will mean that MPs and the civil society may get only a matter of days to study and discuss the IPCMC Bill before it is debated and passed in Parliament. This will make a full mockery of the public consultation process and the meaning of participatory democracy.

  1. #1 by justaskmeanything on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 3:19 pm

    If only the crime rate is a tradeable stock, i’m sure it’s gonna bring KLSE to a whole new height!

  2. #2 by HJ Angus on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 10:36 pm

    I agree.
    They took 2 years to draft the bill and I am sure the public can be allowed 2 months to check it out.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 25 November 2007 - 8:50 am

    My issue is why would they try and bring the IPCMC bill before the election? Is it a plan to say the opposition are just complainers? Badawi strategy into this election is quite clear, he knows he will win big enough so long as there is not enough major issues to spin for the opposition with the Malay votes. Malays also want IPCMC because they are tired of crime.

    Its the same reason why they are harder on Hindraf when its smaller than Bersih rally? Because Bersih was mostly Malay and Hindraf is not. Opposition cannot appeal Malay voters with Hindraf treatment.

You must be logged in to post a comment.