It is very heartening to know that the government is taking the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) seriously. Although present and past members of the police force have expressed their opposition to it, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has stated that the government will go ahead with the plan.
There are conciliatory moves to allay the fears of the cops with Muhyiddin saying that the police force’s concerns will be considered. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also agreed to meet the policemen to hear their views.
Frankly, I don’t know why the cops are making a big deal of the IPCMC. Apparently, the existing Police Commission has failed to ensure the discipline of the police force. So, we hear of cops bribing, shooting because they were shot at first (seriously? Who believes that!), numerous deaths in police custody and the latest unheard of abuse of power — the “disappearance” of citizens!
There have been a few cases when policemen involved in such abuse of power were taken to court but it has done nothing to stop or even reduce the incidences of such police excesses.
A commission with more teeth is needed to ensure fair disciplinary action and investigations of the police force. The IPCMC fits the bill. An independent commission will ensure impartiality in judgement and send a strong message to the police force that the excesses of the past will no longer be tolerated and, therefore, never repeated. There cannot be another “abduction” of citizens by “agents of the state” as concluded by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) in its findings on the “enforced disappearances” of Pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat.
The IPCMC will keep the police on their toes. The police force has for too long been left “unsupervised”. Understandably, they might feel chagrined to have their wings clipped with an oversight body. But, it is only for the immediate interim period. Once they get used to the new culture of doing their job according to the rule of law, the police will not be manipulated by powerful vested interests against whom they might be powerless but to comply. The IPCMC will be an independent force under whose watchful eye policemen will be expected to do their job for the public good.
There really are many good cops but the actions of a few seem to have great public implications and they need to be dealt with publicly to regain the trust of the people in the police force.
I hope more and more Malaysians express their support to the setting up of the IPCMC. It’s a good decision by the government and moving the police force in the right direction.