Is there no justice or rule of law in Malaysia? Can members of the Royal Police Force, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) or any other government enforcement agency abuse their powers as and when they please? Should they escape the long arm of the law, justice, criminal prosecution and disciplinary action for all the unjustifiable and unlawful shootings, deaths in custody and torture? Are they above the law?
We are here to remind Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar, and Chief MACC Commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed of the serious cases of police and MACC brutality in recent years that are still awaiting justice and answers. The family members of the deceased persons, survivors, their lawyers, supporters, civil society and the Rakyat will not be deceived by the authorities’ inaction or half-hearted actions on these cases who seem to hope that in time, the uproar and memory of these cases will simply fade away.
There are many more cases particularly affecting refugees, migrants and foreigners who have died in custody, tortured, whipped and subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment, then deported without their stories being told or revealed to us. Consequently, these enforcement agencies continue to act with impunity in treatment of persons.
1 Failure to take action, lack of independent and effective investigations
2 Recurrent excuses, disturbing trends and false accusations
3 Lack of professionalism, complete disregard of well-established laws and guidelines
4 Culture of impunity
With the nation facing its most important general elections in its history, we urge the Minister of Home Affairs, IGP and Chief Commissioner to take this opportunity to make a clean break from the police, MACC and other enforcement agencies’ long tarnished history and reputation of brutality, trigger-happy attitude, corrupt impunity, and acting as the protector of the rich and powerful and oppressor of the poor and weak. The Minister, IGP and Chief Commissioner are responsible to restore public confidence in the credibility, trust and professionalism of the police force, MACC and other enforcement agencies which even the most blinkered officials will acknowledge is extremely low.
There is no short cut in the road to police and MACC reformation and redemption. Hard decisions will have to be made and those in power and positions will certainly attempt to resist. Despite all the failed promises and half-hearted attempts at reform, we the Rakyat, civil society, the many victims, family members and survivors of brutality and the affected communities demand the following:
1. Without fear or favor, bring all offenders among the police, MACC and other enforcement agencies, to justice including for serious criminal charges and disciplinary proceedings that commensurate with the offenses;
2. Immediately establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to function as an independent, external oversight body to investigate complaints about police personnel and to make the police accountable for their conduct;
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 programmes, with a view to changing the attitudes, perceptions and met.