Proham recognises that there are many positive efforts both by the police directly and the federal government through the Pemandu team that have been addressing issues pertaining to crime. The NKRA initiatives such as greater Police visibility, redeployment of Police resources and active community policing have been positive initiatives.
Proham also noted the direct efforts taken by the current IGP Ismail Omar in crime prevention, upgrading Police resources both infrastructure and human capital together with his consultative approach as commendable.
However, Proham notes with concern the continuing erosion of public confidence in the police version of crime reduction statistics and in matters pertaining to death in custody and death by police shooting.
In this month of August alone, there have been serious allegations made by different individuals and groups. The NKRA crime reduction data and its methodology have come under tremendous criticism. While the police have provided its methodology of data collection and analysis, the everyday experience of crime and perception has not really changed. Therefore more needs to be done to address these especially with journalist, academicians and civil society leaders.
In addition three recent cases relating to the death in custody and death by police shooting has revived public discourse on excessive use of force.
The examples are the death in custody of Cheah Chin Lee (36) on Aug 13, 2012 at the police lock up at Tanjong Tokong, Penang, death in custody of Lagan Dollah AK Gaong (59) on Aug 21, 2012 at a police lock up in Miri, Sarawak and the death by police shooting of D Dinesh (26) near Ampang Waterfall, Selangor on Aug 21, 2012 warrants independent inquires and clear public explanations.
In these three cases family members are seeking justice and their cases are being advocated in public by elected representatives and civil society activists.
A quick review of all of Suhakam’s inquiry on police action and the findings of the Royal Police Commission Inquiry report does document similar abuses and excessive use of force.
Proham recognises that these issues are not unique to Malaysia alone but also experienced by police in other jurisdictions such as Australia, UK, Hong Kong to name a few. However in these countries they have instituted independent inquiry commissions which undertake review and appropriate legal action is taken when violations and offences are found. These independent and transparent institutions do assist in correcting public perception and provides a clear independent analysis.
Unfortunately in Malaysian the federal government failed to establish the Independent Police Complaints & Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as recommended by both the Police Commission and Suhakam.
The recently established Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) has not been very proactive in these issues and has not gained sufficient public confidence and trust of the general public including civil society as Suhakam has.
Therefore in this context Proham calls on the federal government to establish independent mechanisms including reviewing the powers of Suhakam as well as adopt the recommendation of the Police Commission to institute IPMC. These efforts will not undermine the authority of the police but enhance it image, accountability and transparency.
For immediate response to public outcry in the recent cases and issues in August 2012, the police and Ministry of Home Affairs must institute independent inquiry mechanism and also enter discussions with elected representatives, families and civil society. There initiatives must instil public confidence in enforcement institutions so as to enhance public safety and strengthen the credibility of the police force.
Issued on behalf of Proham by Simon Sipaun (Proham chair), Ramon Navaratnam (Proham member), Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Proham exco) & Denison Jayasooria (Proham secretary-general)