Thursday, May 06, 2010

IPCMC is what we need to investigate police shooting of Aminulrasyid Amzah - Bar Council's recent statement

Press Release

Set up oversight mechanism without delay

The Malaysian Bar disagrees with the police allegation that lawyers acted unethically in organising the press conference held by the key witness to the police shooting of Aminulrasyid Amzah.
We believe that the press conference was a reaction to the police’s response to the incident, and is indicative of the family’s lack of confidence in the integrity and transparency of the police.  The press conference was deemed necessary and justified, in order for the witness to recount his side of the story publicly in this matter of public interest.  The lawyers’ role in it did not breach any of the Bar Council’s rules of professional conduct.
On the contrary, the Malaysian Bar criticises the impropriety of the police’s unprincipled action in labelling the deceased a “criminal”, and claiming that a parang was discovered in the car and that the police shot him in pure self-defence.  These unfounded and callous allegations have only served to divert public attention away from the circumstances surrounding the death, and to add to the anguish of Aminulrasyid Amzah’s family and friends.  The police appear to lay claim to having the sole right to issue statements regarding events that have transpired, and, as with previous fatal shootings, seem focused on directing the blame elsewhere instead of facing up to their role and culpability in the incident.
The Malaysian Bar is sceptical that the establishment of the eight-member panel, headed by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Abu Seman Yusop, would be sufficient and effective to uncover the truth regarding the police shooting.
An independent and credible external mechanism for oversight of the Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM), namely the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) envisaged by the Royal Commission on the Enhancement of the Management and Operations of the Police, is urgently needed to watch over the police force.  The establishment of an ad hoc panel each time there is an incident cannot be a substitute for an institutionalised, transparent and competent entity that is fully focused on police operations and policies alone.
The Malaysian Bar is disappointed that even the Government’s choice of setting up an Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC), as a watered-down substitute for the IPCMC, does not appear to have been implemented, although it has been 10 months since the EAIC Act was officially gazetted.  This is clear evidence of the Government’s lackadaisical attitude and lack of real political will in addressing the numerous complaints against, and concerns about, law enforcement agencies, the police in particular.
We believe that the public’s negative perceptions and the police’s defensive reactions could have been avoided, were the oversight mechanism already in place.
Ragunath Kesavan
Malaysian Bar
5 May 2010

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