Royal Police Commission findings: 10 years on – Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari and Denison Jayasooria

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Source: The Malaysian Insider

APRIL 29, 2015 — Ten years ago on April 29, 2005, the Royal Commission headed by Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah completed and presented its report to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the prime minister on how to enhance the operation and management of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM).

The establishment of this Royal Commission on February 4, 2004 was hailed as a major initiative of the then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi “amidst widespread concerns regarding high incidence of crime, perception of corruption, general dissatisfaction with the conduct and performance of police personnel and a desire to see improvements in the service provided by the police”.

The major findings of the Royal Commission were summarised in the 9 major challenges confronting PDRM and in the 10 strategic thrust proposed including 125 recommendations.

Ten years on what are our reflections.

First, we can see visible improvement in the infrastructure facilities of the police and a police with better equipments’ and resources for effective policing.

Second, we can note that the federal government set crime reduction and perception of crime as a major effort of effective governance through the National Key Performance Areas (NKRA),

Third, the establishment of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) as an independent monitoring and enquiry oversight to police and other enforcement agencies.

Ten years ago the Royal Commission received 926 complaints of which 191 complaints regarding abuse of power and 186 on inefficiency and lack of accountability, 119 complaints on poor public relations, 98 on police corruption and 20 complaints on death in police custody.

A total of 316 suggestions were received from the public and another 22 suggestions were received from PDRM.

Contemporary concerns in 2015

Ten years on in 2015 we continue to have major issues on public confidence and PDRM, continuing concerns of death in custody issues, abuse of power including issues pertaining to “arrest first and then investigate” including police handing of public assemblies and in the use of the Sedition Act has raised major concerns inconsistent with UDHR.

Major concerns have been voiced by human rights based civil society on the ineffective performance of EAIC and the limiting legal provisions which falls short of the originally IPCMC prosed by the police commission.

In addition the recent amendments to the Sedition Act and the Prevention of Crime Act and the new legislation on the Prevention of Terrorism Act has restricted compliance to universal human rights standards which can be reviewed as back stepping the earlier shift from restrictive democratic space to an open but accountable political climate which enhances civil and political rights for all sections of Malaysian society.

Recommendations in 2015

We note with great concern that there is a no comprehensive public document or impact review report which has systematically analysed the implementation of the 125 recommendations.

We therefore call on the federal government:

To convene a meeting of the former Royal Commission members for a briefing and review.

To establish an independent and professional impact assessment team to review the findings and delivery over the last 10 years.

To establish a formal public dialogue mechanism with civil society and PDRM on public complaints.

To reconsider and implement the recommendation of the Royal Commission to set up the IPCMC as a separate oversight body for PDRM.

To issue a status report on the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations noting the achievements, challenges, gaps and failures so as to ensure a renewed commitment in enhancing the operations and management of PDRM. – April 29, 2015.

Proham chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari and Proham secretary-general Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria are former members of the Royal Police Commission.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

 

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