Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang today slammed the government for tabling a watered-down version of the much-anticipated Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
Lim said that the Special Complaints Commission (SCC) bill, which was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday, was in essence a “fraudulent” version of the IPCMC.
He explained that the SCC bill had in its explanatory statement said that the bill was a result of the IPCMC proposals made by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police in 2005.
“Most unfortunately, the SCC is a completely different animal from one conceived and recommended by the royal commission. “In fact, it makes a total mockery of the IPCMC proposal as to warrant the SCC bill to be billed as a fraudulent IPCMC,” he said a press conference today.
In its 2005 report, the royal commission had attached the draft IPCMC bill formulated by the commissioners which included legal experts and former judges.
The commission was chaired by former chief justice Mohammad Dzaiddin Abdullah and his commissioners included former inspector-general of police Hanif Omar.
Lim had three main contentions with the SCC which he described as “subversions” of the draft IPCMC bill’s core characteristics:
• The SCC is not an independent external oversight mechanism
• The omission of ‘corruption’ from the scope of the SCC
• The SCC is passive and unable to initiate own investigations
Elaborating, Lim objected to the SCC bill’s proposal for the police chief be made one of three permanent members of the SCC as it would render the new body completely non-independent.
“With the IGP as a permanent commissioner, all notions of the ‘independent, external oversight mechanism’ are repudiated and rejected,” he added.
Lim also criticised the government for omitting corruption from the SCC’s scope while proposing in the SCC bill that the Anti-Corruption Agency director-general be also made one of the three permanent members.
“What’s the use of having the ACA chief as a permanent member if corruption is going to be excluded from the SCC?” he asked.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz has yesterday hit out at detractors of the SCC bill labeling them “ignoramuses” who do not understand the country’s law enforcement and legal systems.
Nazri argued the SCC would not handle corruption as there is no need for a parallel body to the ACA, reported the New Straits Times.
However, he said the government was open to suggestions and that changes can still be made to the bill at the committee stage.
The royal commission’s draft IPCMC bill intended to give the new body wide-ranging powers to strike fear in the police force tainted by allegations of graft and abuse of powers.
Such powers include raiding police stations, government offices, launching its own probes, taking over investigations from the IGP, intercepting any form of communication and even compelling witnesses to answer all questions.
The commission can hold either public or private hearings as part of its investigation. And it is empowered to issue warrants of arrest for those who have been summoned but fail to appear at its hearings.
The IPCMC bill however faced stiff opposition from the police force and certain Umno politicians.Presently, the SCC bill is scheduled to be debated on either Tuesday or Wednesday which is the final two days of the current 46-day parliamentary sitting. Lim said the government had given less than a week for parliamentarians to study the important bill.
As such, DAP would be organising a ‘emergency public consultation’ on Monday to garner feedback on the SCC bill at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall at 7.30pm. According to Lim, invitations for the event had also been sent out to all 16 commissioners involved in the 2005 royal commission report.