PETALING JAYA: The establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is paramount to curb custodial deaths, said Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
“IPCMC is what we need to investigate errant police officers but the government is not interested,” said DAP chairman Karpal Singh.
Yesterday, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced several measures to address the increasing numbers of custodial deaths, namely the setting up of the permanent coroner’s court.
He also said that the government would build centralised police lock ups in every states with CCTV system and mull the possibility of giving the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) prosecution powers.
Karpal said that while setting a coroner’s court is a good idea, the court would be rendered helpless if it was not supported by an independent body such as the IPCMC.
“In the existing system, the coroner’s court will have to depend on the police investigation.
“It’s the same thing with the EAIC. What is the point in giving prosecution powers to a body with no real power. It will be another Suhakam, which is toothless tiger,” said the Bukit Gelugor MP.
PKR supreme council member R Sivarasa concurred with Karpal’s assessment, saying the government is missing the whole point in the entire exercise.
“We need an independent body to probe custodial deaths. It will help any inquest procedure or the coroner’s court in its case,” he said.
Currently, Sivarara added, all investigation are done by the police, where impartiality of any probe on custodial deaths could come into question.
On giving EAIC prosecution powers, the Subang MP said it was of no point that as the commission had not done anything to stop custodial deaths since its inception three years ago.
“If you really want to give prosecution powers, the priority should be for the MACC,” said Sivarasa.
Fellow PKR supreme council member Latheefa Koya said that the setting up of the coroner’s court and centralised lock-ups without IPCMC would not compel the police to be accountable for their actions
“We wish to state that the issue is not about the centralised lockups, investigation rooms or CCTVs. It is about accountability and taking actions on those who breach the lock up rules, abuse power and brutalise suspects,” she said.
G Vinod and K Pragalath, Free Malaysia Today