Cabinet on Wednesday should
release the IPCMC Bill to be made public so that MPs and the civil society
would have at least two weeks to study and give input before Parliamentary
by Lim Kit Siang
The current 42-day budget
meeting of Parliament scheduled to end on Dec. 13 has been extended by
three days till Dec. 19 to debate a spate of bills, seven of which had
been presented for first reading while several others have yet to be
brought to the House.
One of the bills which have yet to be presented for first reading but
which the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri
Aziz has promised would be debated before the end of the current
parliamentary meeting is the long-delayed Independent Police Complaints
and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill proposed by the Royal Police
Commission as the most important of its 125 recommendations to create an
incorruptible, efficient, professional world-class police service.
The Royal Police Commission had proposed the IPCMC as the centre-piece of
its police reform proposals to achieve what it recommended should be the
three core objectives of the Police - to keep crime low, eradicate
corruption in the police force and uphold human rights.
The Royal Police Commission placed such importance and priority on its
IPCMC proposal that it even took the trouble to include a draft IPCMC Bill
in its Report to facilitate its establishment, which it envisaged should
begin to be operational by May 2006.
However, the Police mounted a strong opposition to the IPCMC proposal
threatening even an open revolt in the initial stages, with some top
police officers blatantly displaying insubordination to the political
masters of the day.
More than 18 months have elapsed from the timeline proposed by the Royal
Police Commission for the establishment of the IPCMC, and we are still
waiting for the proposed IPCMC bill to surface into the public domain.
The question is whether the final IPCMC Bill when presented to Parliament
will still be recognized as basically constituting the external oversight
mechanism to check police abuses of power as proposed by the Royal Police
Commission or so shorn of the substantive features and “teeth” of the
IPCMC proposed by the Royal Police Commission as to be a completely
different creature altogether.
The protracted delay in implementing the most important recommendation of
the Royal Police Commission in establishing an IPCMC symbolizes widespread
and deep-seated public disillusionment with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s failures in the past four years to “walk the talk”
to honor his reform pledges for the public service and national
As a result, the three core functions for the police highlighted by the
Royal Police Commission had suffered the worst.
Firstly, crime and the fear of crime have worsened since the Royal Police
Commission Report two-and-a-half years ago in May 2005, becoming endemic
and a nightmare to Malaysians, tourists and investors.
Even Malaysian angkasawan Mej Dr. Faiz Khaleed was not spared when he
sustained injuries requiring more than 100 stitches from two parang-wielding
men during a robbery outside his house in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur on
The Chinese press today highlighted two crimes illustrating the tragedy
that nobody in Malaysia today is safe or could feel safe anymore – the
irony of lawyer and KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Wanita chief, Lee
Sok Wah, being a victim of snatch theft herself after repeatedly warning
the public to be on the lookout for such crime. In Johor Bahru, a female
undergraduate was nearly abducted by two Indonesian males while waiting at
a bus stop in Skudai for her family to pick her up on her return home from
Crime index has continued to soar since the publication of Royal Police
Commission Report, although the report in May 2005 had expressed alarm at
the “high incidence of crime” – which “increased dramatically in the last
few years, from 121,176 cases in 1997 to 156,465 cases in 2004, an
increase of 29 per cent”.
The Royal Police Commission Report said this increase “seriously dented
Malaysia’s reputation as a safe country” and called on the police to
“allot the highest priority to the campaign against crime”, proposing an
immediate crime-reduction target of a minimum of 20 per cent decrease in
the number of crimes committed for each category within 12 months.
The reverse had however taken place in the past 30-months – as there was
not only no reduction in the crime index, there was galloping crime
In the first nine months of this year, the crime index stands at 163,802
cases – which already exceed the crime statistics for the whole of 2004,
i.e. 156,465 cases, which the Royal Police Commission had found “alarming”
and unacceptable. For the whole of 2007, the crime index would gallop and
soar to exceed 200,000 cases for the first time in the nation’s history.
Just to give one illustration to show the gravity in the deterioration of
crime - there were nine reported cases of rape a day in the first nine
months of this year as compared to four cases a day in 2003 and 6.7 cases
a day in 2006!
This is one price being paid by ordinary Malaysians for the delay in the
establishment of the IPCMC, which would have the power to hold the Police
to account for such failure in crime control.
As for the other two core police functions recommended by the Royal Police
Commission - to eradicate corruption and protect human rights – police
records in the past two-and-a-half- years are sorry tales of going
backwards instead of charting progress.
The Cabinet on Wednesday should not sit on the IPCMC Bill any longer but
release it to the public for the fullest public discussion and debate, as
it would also involve a review of the success and failure of the 125
recommendations of the Royal Police Commission to create an incorruptible,
efficient, professional world-class police service.
If the decision to make the IPCMC Bill public is not taken next Wednesday,
there are only two other Cabinet meetings left, Dec. 6 and 13, before the
end of the current parliamentary meeting - which will mean that MPs and
the civil society may get only a matter of days to study and discuss the
IPCMC Bill before it is debated and passed in Parliament. This will make a
full mockery of the public consultation process and the meaning of
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman