The latest series of custodial deaths necessitates firm action to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission without delay, says Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia.
These days Malaysians go to bed with the shocking news of a custodial death only to wake up the next morning to learn of another death in police custody. The custodians of law and order must take full responsibility for these custodial deaths.
From 14 January to 1 June 2013, eight custodial deaths have been reported. According to the chief of the police force, these are apparently “unfortunate”. Referring to the latest death in IPD Tampin, IGP Khalid Abu Bakar had reportedly said in a text-message to The Malay Mail, “It’s just unfortunate that he died in our lock-up.”
In this connection, the Minister of Home Affairs had earlier said that he had to be careful about taking action against the police in order to ensure that it would not have any demoralising effect on the police force.
GBM regards both these statements as unbecoming of leaders who are dutybound to protect the people of this country and condemns them for being insensitive and indifferent towards the preservation of precious lives.
GBM notes with utter disgust that the wanton cruelty of the police personnel towards their victims has been so prominent all these years that a Royal Commission had to be set up in 2005 which among others concluded that deaths in the lock-ups are “a serious cause for concern”.
The Royal Commission produced 125 recommendations to clean up the police force, the most important being the setting up of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
Almost eight years have passed, but the government has not shown any inclination to establish the IPCMC, which, in the opinion of GBM, legitimises the police force to continue with its wayward ways.
GBM, an alliance of 25 NGOs, fervently believes that this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue and calls upon the government to undertake the following actions without any further delays or excuses:
- Implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry immediately. There should be no overt or covert attempts to weaken the authority or terms of reference of the IPCMC.
- Undertake speedily all the other recommendations made by the Royal Commission of Inquiry. A schedule of implementation of the recommendations should be prepared by the government for adoption by Parliament.
- Appoint the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) as recommended by an independent Selection Board consisting of a representative from the Home Ministry, retired judges, retired senior police officers, Suhakam commissioners, representatives of the Bar Council and other civil society organisations. If the recommendation is not accepted by the Home Minister, it should be automatically referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for hearing and decision making.
- Decentralise the Police Force from its present centralised authority, and move the Federal Constitution provision relating to the police from the Federal List to the Concurrent List. At present, the police is exclusively placed within the federal jurisdiction. This has led to the politicisation of the police. The greatest benefit from decentralising the police is that it allows local public feedback to be better incorporated into police work. This tie-up will ensure more effective crime prevention, and will definitely have a positive impact on police work.
- Take immediate action to arrest and charge all police personnel involved in the latest series of custodial deaths. Only through a swift and transparent judicial process will the police force be able to clear its name!
Issued by the Executive Council of Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia
Note: GBM comprises the following 25 civil society organisations:
1) Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) 吉隆坡暨雪兰莪中华大会堂
2) Aliran 国民醒觉运动
3) Tamil Foundation 淡米尔基金会
4) Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM) 马来西亚回教革新理事会
5) Majlis Perundingan Malaysia Agama Buddha; Krisitian; Hindu; Sikh dan Tao (MPMA-BKHST) 马来西亚五大宗教理事会
6) Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH) 森美兰中华大会堂
7) Penang Chinese Town Hall (PGCTH) 槟城华人大会堂
8) The Federation of Chinese Associations Johore State (FCAJ) 柔佛中华总会
9) Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre (LLG) 林连玉基金
10) United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (UCSAAM) 马来西亚华校校友会联合会总会
11) Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF) 穆斯林专业论坛
12) Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) 人民之声
13) Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS) 社区传播中心
14) Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) 马来西亚之子
15) Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas) 雪隆社区协会
16) National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT) 全国印裔权益行动组织
17) People’s Green Coalition (PGC) 马来西亚人民绿色联盟
18) Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS) 砂拉越青年之子
19) All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) 妇女行动协会
20) Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust) 沙巴社区伙伴信托组织
21) Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (Liu-Hua) 马来西亚留华同学会
22) Nanyang University Alumni Malaya (Nanda) 马来亚南大校友会
23) Japan Graduates Association, Malaysia (JAGAM) 马来西亚留日同学会
24) Gabungan Persatuan Alumni Universiti Taiwan Malaysia (GPAUTM) 马来西亚留台校友会联合总会
25) Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) 回教复兴前线组织