Will IGP Khalid now support IPCMC with police given right to appeal against conviction?
Eyebrows of all Malaysians would have been raised when they heard the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar claiming yesterday that the police had never objected to the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), the key recommendation of the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission of Inquiry a decade ago.
Khalid should not think that Malaysians have short memories as to forget that it was the vehement and even ferocious opposition of the police leadership, even at one time threatening a police revolt, together with opportunistic UMNO leaders at the time, who was responsible for the killing of the IPCMC proposal, which speeded up the downfall of the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who could not walk his talk of police reforms.
Khalid now says that the IPCMC proposal treated the police like “second-class citizens” with no avenue for justice, as there was no right to appeal any conviction.
Is Khalid now saying that the police will support the IPCMC proposal if police is given the right to appeal against any conviction?
Malaysians fully agree that the police are entitled to fairness and justice and should have the right of appeal against any conviction under the IPCMC bill.
Is Khalid prepared to take the initiative to propose to the Home Minister, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet that the IPCMC Bill, giving the police the right to appeal against conviction, should be presented to Parliament for passage especially as this is the only way to restore public confidence in the integrity and professionalism of the police and to eradicate police abuses and corruption.
This is urgent and imperative for three reasons:
- One of the main objectives of IPCMC was to end deaths in police custody but police custodial deaths have not ended and have continued to be a national scandal despite the three-year operation of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC).
- The establishment of a special committee headed by the Inspector-General of Police in June last year has also failed to curb police custodial deaths.
- The Court of Appeal in the A. Kugan case in August called for “zero tolerance” for plolice custodial deaths and recommended that independent public inquiries be held for all such cases.
The Court of Appeal in the A.Kugan case also censured Khalid, who was the Selangor police chief at the time, for acting both as “judge and jury” and committing “an affront to fair play and transparency” when he negotiated with the Attorney-General for investigations into police officers and men in their probe into the death of Kugan to be confined to Section 330 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt.
This is what Justice David Wong Dak Wah said in his 51-page Court of Appeal judgement:
“What appears to have happened was that the police had become the judge and jury of a complaint made against their behaviour in relation to the death-in-custody case.
“This conduct, with respect, misses the point completely and that is the police force at that point in time was ‘on trial’ and to allow the police to determine what ought to be done was simply asking the wrongdoers to do their own investigations and determine the appropriate actions.
“Common sense militates against such a course of action.”
With the No. 1 Police Officer censured by the Court of Appeal for flouting the basic principles of “fair play and transparency” when the police force itself is “on trial”, with the IGP incapable of pleading any extenuating or mitigating circumstances, is it any wonder there is little public trust or confidence that the police will be able to police itself against police abuses and corruption – why the IPCMC should be established although a decade after it was recommended by the Dzaiddin RCI?