STOP STATE VIOLENCE MOVEMENT
Secretariat : Suara Rakyat Malaysia
433A, 1st floor Jalan 5/46, Gasing Indah, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
(T) 603-7784 3525 (F) 603- 7784 3526 Email : [email protected]net
Press Statement: 20 June 2013
Police Reform: Discuss and Strengthen it
The Stop State Violence Movement would like to applaud the rakyat for the pressure mounted on the government that moved the cabinet to act fast on the issues regarding the Royal Malaysian Police and its reform in particular the setting up of IPCMC.
The Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today that the government will implement a centralized lockup system where interrogations of suspects will take place. A permanent coroner’s court in every state in the country will also be established.
We welcome the setting up of the coroner court. This is also in line with SSV’s demand on setting up of an independent and competent Coroner’s Court system to replace the current Magistrate’s Inquest which is extremely problematic and ineffective. We do strongly believe that a coroner court system will only be effective if the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commissions (IPCMC) is formed.
This is because an independent investigation body like the recommended IPCMC will investigate any death in custody cases and provide the investigation report to the coroner for further action on prosecuting officers involved. If this is not established, we end up sitting in a coroner court listening to the investigation papers done by the police against their peers themselves. This strongly drops the credibility of the court on being independent. The concept of independence for accountability must be the common thread pulling together the various reforms required for the police force as a strong, credible and effective institution.
The government should make some study on the coroner court in other countries to understand the international standards available and applicable to our country. The appointment of the coroner itself should create a sense of trust among the people where the judge must be independent without any political appointments or political involvement. Countries such as Canada, United Kingdom, Japan and few more have already established coroner court in their countries and their experiences both the positive and negative, can be used as a research point to establish a similar one in Malaysia.
On the idea of setting up more lock ups, it will not be helpful in tackling the fundamental issues of lack of understanding of rights and standards; where there is lack of accountability; and absence of independent investigations on commissions and omissions of the police force. Having centralized lockups with CCTV and other gadgets are cosmetic touch ups on this issue. Recently, when activists were arrested and placed in the Jinjang lock up, the CCTV was not functioning. CCTV too can be manipulated. Such acts can only be eliminated if the police are conscious of the fact that there can be independent investigations and that they would be made accountable.
Police lack human rights education and understanding of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) as well as inability to conduct an investigation objectively accordance to the human rights principles. Our police officers fail in recognizing the notion of presumption of innocence of an individual and always treat all the suspects who are arrested as criminal. The reform must be grounded with human rights education and the need to maintain standards.
We encourage the ministry to engage with the civil society to discuss and further strengthen the suggested reforms. This is also in accordance to the Recommendation 10 of the Police Royal Commission of Inquiry back in 2005, where the PDRM should engage with the local Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) with the support of the government.
We are ready to work closely with them in reforming the Royal Malaysian Police for the betterment of our country.