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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Set up police commission to check abuse or resign, Paul Low told

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low has assured that the government will curb custodial deaths but failed to set up an independent police commission. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 31, 2015.Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low has assured that the government will curb custodial deaths but failed to set up an independent police commission. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 31, 2015.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low must impress on the Cabinet to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), mooted 10 years ago to check on custodial deaths, a DAP lawmaker said.
Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran said this was because the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC), a watered-down version of IPCMC, has been a complete failure in eradicating police abuses.
"Low, who has in the past assured that the government will curb custodial deaths and defended the setting up of EAIC, must not give any more excuses for not supporting the setting up of IPCMC," he said in a statement.
"Low should emulate Pandikar’s courage and commitment to change.”
Kulasegaran said custodial death was not just a statistic and Low should press for the immediate setting up of IPCMC at the next Cabinet meeting and be prepared to resign from his minister's post if the Cabinet rejected his proposal.
Kulasegaran was responding to a speech given yesterday by Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, who headed a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Police Reform 10 years ago that recommended the IPCMC.
Dzaiddin, a retired chief justice, said that one of the causes of deaths in custody was the indifference towards the rule of law in the police force. He said police had a patent disregard for human rights. 
"In order to understand why we have deaths in police custody in the first place, we must look to the environment within PDRM itself," he said during his keynote address at the forum "Rogue cops: Workable solutions – Police Accountability in Malaysia" in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Dzaiddin said the lack of training and understanding on the part of the police contributed directly to PDRM's lack of regard for life, liberty and rule of law.
He said the EAIC was hamstrung by its lack of power and limited ability to conduct investigations, adding that of the RM14 million spent between 2010 and 2012, only one disciplinary action and two warnings were given.
Human rights groups also say that despite having the EAIC, nothing much has changed as custodial deaths continued.
There have been 261 deaths in custody from 2000 to 2014, an average of one death per month, based on news reports.
Kulasegaran said Dzaiddin’s remarks were right and deserved urgent government and police action but questioned whether they would fall on deaf ears again.
"The setback is lack of political will by the government and commitment of the police force to undergo reform," he said.
- TMI

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