Malaysian Bar raises concern over newly tabled Bill on police conduct commission

Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir Bhaskaran expressed concern that the commission as proposed in the new Bill may lack bite in comparison to the IPCMC and offered to assist the government with legal input. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir Bhaskaran expressed concern that the commission as proposed in the new Bill may lack bite in comparison to the IPCMC and offered to assist the government with legal input. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — The Malaysian Bar today said it was not consulted prior to the tabling of a new Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill which replaces the long-awaited Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill.

Its president Salim Bashir expressed concern that the commission as proposed in the new Bill may lack bite in comparison to the IPCMC and offered to assist the government with legal input.

“Another aspect of our concern is that under section 30 of the IPCC, the Commission under the IPCC might be depowered in comparison with the original version of section 31 of the IPCMC that clothed the Commission with disciplinary authority.

“We have worked tirelessly with various stakeholders in the past, and hope that the concerns by all parties will be addressed in the IPCC Bill. 

“The Malaysian Bar wishes to be consulted, and will be ready to assist to provide any input necessary to ensure that a comprehensive and effective IPCC Bill is implemented,” Salim said in a statement.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said today tabled the IPCC that will replace the recently withdrawn IPCMC Bill introduced by the previous government.

The IPCC Bill will fall under the Home Ministry’s purview instead of the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law).

The proposed commission under the IPCC will be an independent oversight body to improve the integrity, reduce misconduct and promote public confidence in the force.

However, news portal Malaysiakini published a comparison of the two Bills earlier today and claimed the IPCC significantly reduced the powers of the commission that it would have had under the IPCMC.

According to Malaysiakini, a key difference in the IPCC Bill is that the commission cannot act against errant police officers but can only recommend action to the Police Force Commission or other relevant authorities.

Under the new Bill, the IPCC will not be able to review complaints of police officers who do not comply with rules or standard operating procedures, who do not justify their actions when justification should be provided, and who commit criminal offences.

According to Malaysiakini, those called to testify to the commission will be given the right to refuse to answer any question that could expose a police officer to a criminal charge.

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