Press Statement: 11 June 2013
STOP MORE DEATHS! STOP STATE VIOLENCE! NOTHING LESS THAN THE IPCMC!
Death List of 2013
The latest list of deaths under police custody for year 2013:
Date Name Age Location
14-Jan-13 Chang Chin Te 30 USJ 8
23-Jan-13 Sugumaran 39 Batu 14 Cheras
01-Feb-13 Mohd.Ropi 43 Temerloh, Died at the Sultan Ahmad Shah Hospital
10-Mar-13 M.Ragu 47 Kampar
17-Mar-13 UNKNOWN 55 Seri Alam Johor
21-May-13 Darmaindren 32 IPK KL
27-May-13 Jamesh Ramesh 40 Penang
01-Jun-13 Karunanithi 42 IPD Tampin
08-Jun-13 Nobuhiro Matsushita 33 USJ 8
9 cases of custodial death within 6 months of 2013. Comparing the total 9 deaths for the full year of 2012. Will the figures escalate for 2013 with the government and specifically the police force resisting any form of reform through an independent commission? Has the government and in particular the police believe that they are above accountability and thus continue to act with impunity? The rakyat says otherwise.
Revamping EAIC is the wrong road map for reform and accountability.
The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) clearly has proven by its commissions and performance that of issuing warnings is a toothless tiger without any power of enforcement of decisions taken.. Its CEO Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar acknowledged that only one investigating officer was assigned to probe 19 agencies (4 June 2013). She also suggested the need to increase the annual budget to at least RM25 million in order to perform well. However, the Stop State Violence movement believes that it is not just a question of more money or personnel for investigations, but the powers given to them to conduct effective investigations as well as to enforce their decisions. The EAIC can only give recommendations and then it is up to the police force to act on it. In spite of calls by the rakyat and civil society for the last ten years, the police force has not made any changes. It will continue to do so as it believes that it has wide powers in itself to act with impunity and the government of the day – BN government needs it to maintain power.
PKR in a press statement yesterday 11-06-13, stated that a member of the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC), Salehuddin Saidin is representing one of the 3 police officers charged as a lawyer for the murder of death in custody victim N Dhamendran. This is indeed a conflict of interest. How can he be expected to be independent and objective in his EAIC duties while defending his client.
With the revelation and the failure of the EAIC, it is indeed ridiculous for Datuk Paul Low, particularly as a former President of Transparency International Malaysia to continue to harp that it is better to revamp the EAIC than make all efforts to establish the IPCMC.
We would like to remind Datuk Paul Low to get his facts and analysis right. The Royal Commission on the Police force took a lot of effort, study and investigations to come up with a solid proposal for the oversight called Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission that can, and will bring about a reformed, disciplined and corrupt free police force that will be the pride of our nation.
SSV would also like to remind the new Minister in the Prime Ministers Department that it is not the issue of staff shortage or annual budget problem. The root issue of the EAIC is, the absence of power namely the 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 as it 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.
Another power that IPCMC has, is to initiate its own investigation into any police power abuse cases without the need for a complaint to be made. EAIC on the other hand, waits for a complaint to be made before starting the investigations. If the EAIC was indeed an oversight mechanism for the agencies, it would have immediately launched an independent inquiry to get to the truth of the complaints of police power abuses that occurred.
We would like to provide a brief on the IPCMC as below:
1. Appointment of commissioners are done by Agong
2. IPCMC must be an independent body formed under the Parliament Act.
3. Commissioners durations are limited for 3 years only
4. Commissioners should not be from the police force- current of former.
5. IPCMC needs to submit its report to Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong
6. IPCMC needs to present its report in the Parliament.
We would also like to list some of the powers of IPCMC that was recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry back in 2005:
1. Power to initiate its own investigations without any complaints
2. Power to order PDRM or other agencies to provide any documents related to investigations.
3. Not subject to any secrecy law including the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
4. Power to initiate legal action on its own via its legal counsel.
5. Power to call up witness to hear their testimonies.
6. Power to enter premises including government offices for investigations purpose.
However, the police force needs a comprehensive and total reform. The Royal Commission did address it in totality and thus made various recommendations. We cannot just address death in custody but also how do we prevent torture while a person in custody. There is a dire need for better ways of investigations and accompanying procedures. There is a need for special courts as well. The SSV movement sees that there is a need to make the reforms collectively for a genuine change to be realized.
At the minimum, the following seven demands need to be taken up immediately and acted upon:
1. Without fear or favor, bring all offenders among the police, MACC and other enforcement agencies, to justice.
2. Immediately establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)
3. Institute an Ombudsmen system that enforces human rights practice in all enforcement agencies and their places of detention such as prisons, immigration detention centers and lockups;
4. Review and make public the law enforcement agencies’ standard operating procedures including the Inspector General Standing Order on police guidelines on discharge of firearms and detention and interrogation;
5. Support the setting up of an independent and competent Coroner’s Court system to replace the current Magistrate’s Inquest which is extremely problematic and ineffective;
6. Ratify the Convention against Torture and the Optional protocol” followed by necessary laws to eliminate torture.
7. Support human rights education and training programs, with a view to changing the attitudes, perceptions and methods of law enforcement personnel.
The SSV Coalition will begin an intensive campaign to end state violence against people with a initial series of actions:
1. On 13 June 2013, Thursday, a Public Forum “Stop State Violence” IPCMC Now. Will be organized at the Bar Council auditorium, KL
2. We will come up with a pledge for a commitment from MP’s to support the implementation of IPCMC
3. Online petition to support the implementation of IPCMC
4. Putting up banners on implementing the IPCMC.
This Coalition is supported by the following 30 organizations signed below.
Stop State Violence Movement
3. Lawyers For Liberty
4. Malaysians for Beng Hock
5. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas)
6. Amnesty International Malaysia
7. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Masyarakat (Empower)
8. Malaysia Youth And Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
9. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
10. Civil Rights Committee of KLSCAH
12. Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre
13. KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth
14. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
15. Community Development Centre (CDC)
16. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
17. Persatuan masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
18. Community Action Network (CAN)
19. Serdang Bahru School Alumni Youth Section
20. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & KL (Prihatin)
21. Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)
22. MALAYSIAN INDIANS PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION (MIPAS)
23. PEOPLE’S WELFARE AND RIGHTS COALITION (POWER)
24. MALAYSIAN INDIANS TRANSFORMATION ACTION TEAM (MITRA)
25. ANGKATAN NASIONAL INDIA MALAYSIA (AGNI)
26. Sunflower Electoral Education Movement (SEED)
27. Japan Graduates’ Association of Malaysia
28. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita
29. Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)\
30. Kelab Bangsar Utama