IPCMC needed because police can’t investigate their own

IPCMC needed because police can’t investigate their own

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer M Visvanathan who also heads Eliminating Death in Custody Together (Edict) in his push for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission said that IPCMC is needed simply because the police cannot investigate their own.

Referring to some custodial death cases, he even said that there was a case in which the police force implemented a system of rewarding police officers who are charged in court for causing the death those who are locked up.

“On 3 Nov 2014, Sheikh Azlan was arrested at 3am in Kota Tinggi, Johor. He died at 7.30am. The case was brought to the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC) which recommended that three police officers be charged under section 302 of the Penal Code for murder.

“The Attorney General Chambers charged the three under section 304 for culpable homicide. One of the three suspects is an inspector.

“The case is still ongoing. When I met the suspect in 2016, he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and transferred back to his hometown in Sabah despite having an ongoing case in court.”

He revealed this at a public forum entitled IPCMC as a Scale for the Integrity of Police Institution that was held at Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night that was jointly organised by Suaram and Edict.

Lawyer M Visvanathan who also heads Edict

The lawyer activist also revealed that despite deaths in detention continued to occur despite the use of the most sophisticated technology used by the police.

“The CCTV (closed circuit television) monitoring room is the most sophisticated in Jinjang police station after the Prime Minister’s Office. 

“There are 200 cameras and air conditions ensure the computers are cool.  The monitoring system is fully high definition but even then, deaths happen.  Two weeks ago, a Malaysian and a Myanmar citizen died there.”

He also said that the police are left to their own devices even though the courts instructed the police to conduct investigations.

“One Sivaraman died in Tapah prison in two years ago. There was no inquest, so we moved the case in court. Two years later, the Attorney General Chambers confirmed the police investigation was incomplete even though the High Court had called for police investigation.”

Another weakness on the part of the police was their lack of understanding the law.

“Forget the lower ranking police personnel. Even the ASPs and deputy superintendent of police (DSPs) don’t know about Article 5 of the Federal Constitution.

“If the law enforcer doesn’t know the law, how are they expected to enforce them?”

Article 5 provides for the right to life.

Fellow panelist S Arutchelvan who recently became PSM deputy chairperson meanwhile told the forum that having the IPCMC for police would not be easy because governments needed the security agency to maintain power.

“In Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines and Indonesia the government remain in power because of the military.  In Malaysia, it is because of the police, particularly the Special Branch.

“The SB are very powerful and all IGPs are former SB chiefs.  The government needs the police and the police have power.

“(Prime Minister Tun) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) needs the police more than police needs him.”

Referring to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye incident in 1997, he said then IGP Tan Sri Rahim Noor who punched Anwar who was handcuffed, blindfolded after office hours did not face action until a royal commission found Rahim guilty.

“Who investigated the IGP? The police can’t investigate themselves

Other panelists include lawyer Farida Mohamad, Suhakam commissioner Mah Weng Kwai, Suaram director Sevan Doraisamy and Ng Yap Hwa from the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy.

The forum was chaired by Firdaus Husni of the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights.

The IPCMC bill is expected to be tabled soon.