KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — The Malaysian chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International has today warned Malaysians that the proposed Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill 2020 will shield police officers from scrutiny and independent oversight if passed.
“The IPCC Bill fails to address widespread public concerns about police misconduct, ongoing misuse of power against government critics, and custodial deaths.
“If passed, the bill would not promote accountability as the government claims, but rather shield police officers from scrutiny and independent oversight,” its executive director Katrina Jorene Maliamauv said in response to the possible tabling of the Bill in tomorrow’s session.
She added that the IPCC will further weaken the already inadequate oversight mechanism, the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), when Malaysia is in desperate need of an independent commission overseeing the police.
“Instead, the government must establish an independent and transparent oversight body with the power to investigate allegations of abuse by police officers and take concrete action, including carrying out searches and visits to places of detention, and enforcing its decisions based on its findings,” said Katrina.
Putrajaya had previously attempted to legislate the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), but faced opposition from the police, resulting in the watered-down IPCC and backlash from civil society.
Amnesty International Malaysia also expressed disappointment in the passing of a recent motion involving the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, also known as Sosma, in the parliament session on July 20.
“Sosma violates basic human rights principles, as it permits the police to arrest and detain any person without warrant ostensibly over suspicion of involvement over security offences.
“The broad and vague definition of ‘security offences’ under the law has enabled it to be abused by the government, including to target critics and human rights defenders,” she said.
She added that such a law failed to meet international human rights standards as it places detainees in solitary confinement, detains them incommunicado for 48 hours, and denies their access to courts and lawyers for up to 28 days.
The extension of the enforcement of subsection 4(5) of Sosma was passed on July 20 with 105 votes versus 83 votes, while 32 MPs were absent — allowing the 28-day maximum detention period to be extended for another five years.
It was shot down in the previous parliament session in March with a marginal victory of 86 votes versus 85 votes, while 49 MPs were absent.