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Reading the PM’s police speech
yesterday between the lines, many are asking whether the IPCMC proposal is
as “dead as a dodo” and that Abdullah has become a very changed person on
the issue of police reforms from when he established the Royal Police
by Lim Kit Siang
The thrust of Abdullah’s speech yesterday were:
If Abdullah’s tame speech on the police yesterday represented his serious and sincere views, then there is not only no need for an IPCMC, there would have been no need for any Royal Police Commission to be established in the first place – let alone two Royal Police Ciommissions in the past 30 months!
Abdullah’s statements that “police personnel who smear the name of the force by committing blunders and causing problems have to be expelled to maintain its good name” and that “it is the responsibility of the Royal Malaysia Police leadership to ensure that such police personnel do not remain in the law enforcement organization” also do not inspire confidence or credibility.
This is because of the immunity of the Inspector-General Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Bakri Omar after committing the grave offence of open insubordination and indiscipline by trespassing into policy areas and publicly defying the civilian authority of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet by going against the expressed wishes of Abdullah to accept the key recommendation of the Royal Police Commission to establish the IPCMC.
It will be most unfortunate if the IPCMC proposal is now “as dead as a dodo” because of the successful police lobby among UMNO MPs and policymakers to the extent that the Prime Minister has now to backtrack from his earlier support for the IPCMC recommendation of the Royal Police Commission.
This is most tragic, as the IPCMC appears to be the only worthwhile legacy for Abdullah after 30 months as the fifth Prime Minister, and if the IPCMC is now killed as a result of the success of the police lobbying efforts, Abdullah would have nothing to show in terms of far-reaching institutional reform up to this date.
I would urge Abdullah to seriously re-think before backtracking from his earlier commitment to set up the IPCMC, for he will be the biggest loser as it will be an irreparable blow to his authority and credibility as Prime Minister as well as his place in Malaysian history.
He should refer to the latest and most timely report of the International Advisory Commission of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative on “Police Accountability: Too Important to Neglect, Too Urgent to Delay”, which said:
“The conduct of the police is an important barometer of the state of governance, and their performance can significantly shape the social health of nations. Police, whether in a democratic or dictatorial regime, perform much the same functions. What distinguishes good from bad policing is the commitment to protect the civil and political freedoms of individuals, while helping to create an environment that will maximize the enjoyment of economic social and cultural rights as well.”
Stressing that “The price that democracies pay for unreformed, unaccountable policing is high”, it called on Commonwealth countries to “explicitly acknowledge that police reform and accountability are crucial to realizing democracy and development, leading to the elimination of “abuse and corruption, and ensure the highest standards of policing”.
Whether the Royal Police Commission’s most important recommendation on the IPCMC should be established or abandoned should not be decided by the Prime Minister himself alone, but should be the collective decision of the Cabinet, Parliament and the civil society.
For this reason, I call on Abdullah to allow Ministers, MPs and the civil society the full freedom to express their views on whether the IPCMC should be established.
Probably, this will the best subject for the holding of a national referendum for Malaysians to express their views whether they support the Royal Police Commission recommendation for the establishment of IPCMC to create an incorruptible, efficient, professional, human rights-senstive world class police service.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman