`




THERE IS NO GOD EXCEPT ALLAH
read:
MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku

LOVE MALAYSIA!!!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Demand for accountability



Two independent and separate events in England and Chicago were very telling; even for Malaysians a world away. Both involved the process of judicial review which found public officials guilty of criminal negligence through a specific demand for accountability by citizens.
The first was the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, and the other was the Chicago killing of a young black man by city police. These are the reports:
  • Six public officials are charged in the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster in England, in which 96 soccer fans were trampled to death at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield in 1989.
     
  • Three current or former Chicago police officers were indicted Tuesday on state felony charges of conspiracy in the investigation into the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, 17, who was killed in October 2014.
Is it not time also for a judicial review of our current systems of justice to consider similar actions of criminal negligence against various kinds and types of abusive public officials? I can think of two specific agencies, each with clear power and requisite authority, but which are equally badly administered because of moral corruption; which I call the ‘close one eye culture’.
First is our Royal Malaysian Police, just like in the Chicago case, wherein their Review Committee found their police officers guilty of manslaughter. These US police officers are being charged for the first time in Chicago’s history!
In our specific case the police were left off the hook by poor judgment of the Pak Lah government when they compromised on the complete execution of the recommendations of the IPCMC Report. That report must be fully implemented without delay and it is time our police are held accountable for all custodial deaths!
Second is the case of the Highlands Tower accident, which happened in 1993, for which the local authorities were ever never held accountable for “careless approval” and destabilisation of underground water retention levels. Local authorities must be held accountable for a 30-year period for poor planning decisions made!
In the Hillsborough case review, after 28 years, a riot-based accident that killed innocent citizens in a football stadium; six public officials on duty were found to be liable for their careless judgments, and therefore held accountable.
Police accountability
The IPCMC Report highlighted the many failures of the Royal Malaysian Police. The main complaint was that people responsible for protecting members of the public were, in some cases, guilty parties in “abusing potential criminal actions reflecting high numbers who died in custody!”
The Royal Commission received more than 900 complaints of abuse, including deaths in custody, physical and psychological abuse of detainees, misuse of administrative detention laws, abuse of power and systematic lack of accountability and transparency.
The Royal Commission’s chairperson, Mohammed Dzaiddin Abdullah, said in his foreword:
“The agenda for reform that my Commission is proposing is an enormous and comprehensive one. The process of change will be long and arduous. To successfully carry it through will require strong and inspired leadership. There will also have to be strong and sustained political will on the part of the government, and the willingness to allocate the necessary resources, no doubt prudently and spread over time.”
In announcing the formation of the Police Commission in 2004, the then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said:
“… The Royal Malaysia Police, as a team that engages with the public, has to be knowledgeable about human rights in the discharge of duties and in dealing with the public. Issues such as police violence, unsatisfactory service, corruption and other negative issues must be eradicated.”
We are now 13 years after that fact, and death in police custody remains a serious issue until today. Why?
Then Bar Council president Steven Thiru (photo) said in February 2017 that the IPCMC was a crucial first step, and the only way in which rogue elements in the police force could be identified, isolated and held accountable for their misconduct and criminal acts.
Thiru, in a public statement, appealed: “Let S Balamurugan’s death be the last ever in police custody. Establish the IPCMC now.” Is the nation-state not ready to assume this agenda and move?”
The Malaysian Bar, he said, was aghast that the results of the second post-mortem conducted by Hospital Kuala Lumpur on 44-year-old S Balamurugan, and released on Feb 18, confirmed that the cause of death while he was in police custody was “coronary artery disease with multiple blunt force injuries”.
My question is: Are the Royal Malaysian Police really above the law? Is the criminal law then a contradiction? I therefore appeal to the Conference of Rulers to demand the IGP appear before them and give suitable answers and be held accountable; especially since they are the “Royal Force” for justice in Malaysia! Alternatively, I propose that the Conference of Rulers withdraws the “royal title” from our police force, who use illegal force!
Local governance accountability
In the geography of where I live in SS1, Petaling Jaya, the Kampung Tunku community is named in memory of our first prime minister. Having lived here for about 30 years, it has, however, become obvious that green lungs are being abused by MBPJ in collusion with private interests, almost at will or fancy!
Premised upon that observation, I appeared before the Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) Sub-Committee in 2016 to make my complaints on the lack of integrity of the Local Government portfolio of the Selangor state government.
To date, no action has been taken and no answers are forthcoming. Therefore, my question to all Malaysian citizens is: Am I wrong to stop paying my assessment until MBPJ gives me a cogent and clear reply to my questions about the seven green lungs explicitly violated within my living area?
Failing this, can I propose that the Selangor Executive Councillor in charge of Local Government please resign for negligence and lack of full accountability? If the Selangor state government, which created Selcat to reflect good governance, cannot stand up and be held responsible and accountable, can I propose that the words transparency, accountability and competence are mere slogans and that the citizens of Malaysia deserve more!

KJ JOHN, PhD, was in public service for 32 years, having served as a researcher, trainer, and policy adviser to the International Trade and Industry Ministry and the National IT Council (NITC) of the government of Malaysia. The views expressed here are his personal views and not those of any institution he is involved with. Write to him at kjjohn@ohmsi.net with any feedback or views. -Mkini

No comments:

Post a Comment