SCRAP EAIC, FORM IPCMC
SUARAM refers to the The Malaysian Insider news article titled “Enforcement Oversight body has just one officer to investigate 19 agencies, says CEO” on 4 June 2013. The title itself says it all.
The reality and condition of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) are being seen now, straight from the mouth of its CEO, Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar.
In a public consultation done by EAIC in Petaling Jaya on the 20 December 2012, which was chaired by its CEO, chairman and deputy chair, Datuk Heliliah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan, the main issue highlighted was that the EAIC probes 19 enforcement agencies including the Royal Police of Malaysia (PDRM). The quantity of agencies probed was the proud issue for EAIC, the quality wasn’t an issue and it was acknowledged today by the CEO that only one investigating officer was assigend to probe19 agencies.
Budget and manpower were the issues highlighted by Nor Afizah Hanum which contribute to the latest criticism towards the EAIC. She said that the EAIC needs an annual budget of at least RM25 million, 10 investigating officers and 10 research officers. SUARAM avers that until all these suggestions are implemented, the EAIC will not be able to build the public confidence in the agency.
SUARAM would like to highlight the root issue of the EAIC which is the absence of prosecution power. The EAIC only has the power to investigate complaints and the finding of its investigation will be referred back to the police force.
Comparatively, the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) has more power as an oversight mechanism asit can initiate legal action against any officers for abuse of power. IPCMC was one of the 125 recommendations made by the Royal Commission of Police back in 2004. This recommendation was supposed to be implemented in 2006. The watered down version of the IPCMC, which is the EAIC came into picture in 2011.
SUARAM would like to also highlight the point made by the Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that the EAIC will be conducting investigation on Dharmendran’s death. SUARAM avers that the Home Minister’s statement does not hold water as the EAIC will not investigate Dharmendran’s death in the absence of a formal complaint. This was SUARAM’s concern which was pointed out at the the consultation with the EAIC where SUARAM emphasized the need for the EAIC to be proactive in investigating abuse of power by the men in blue, not waiting for a complaint to be lodged first.
SUARAM together civil society groups reiterate the call for the implementation of the IPCMC and urge the Government to immediately scrap the EAIC.