EAIC: Sharp rise in complaints against enforcers, but insufficient proof for action

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http://hakam.org.my/wp/2018/04/18/eaic-sharp-rise-in-complaints-against-enforcers-but-insufficient-proof-for-action/
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Source: The Malay Mail Online

Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) chairman Datuk A. Aziz A. Rahim speaks during the launch of the ‘Report Enforcers’ Misconduct’ campaign in Kuala Lumpur April 18, 2018. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Public complaints against enforcement agency officers more than doubled last year with the highest made against policemen, the government’s watchdog said today.

Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) chairman Datuk A. Aziz A. Rahim said 545 public complaints were made against enforcers last year compared to 247 in 2016.

“Out of last year’s complaints the highest was from the police,” he said during the launch of the EAIC’s “Report Enforcers’ Misconduct” campaign.

He attributed it to the high number of police personnel, noting that in comparison, complaints against other agencies were far lower.

He said the Immigration had 20 complaints, while the Road Transport Department received 13 complaints against their enforcement officers.

“But of the 545 complaints last year, around 60 to 70 per cent were without merit when we looked into it, as there was insufficient proof found,” he added.

According to Aziz, most of the complaints included claims that the officers were not following the rules when enforcing the law, abusing their authority and involved in corruption.

He also said the EAIC is considering setting up a standing committee in each agency to monitor the performance of the integrity within the units.

“That way we can find common ground as well as improve our services. I expect the proposal will eventually be forwarded to the government by the end of the year, once events such as the upcoming general election have concluded,” Aziz said.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation senior vice-president Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who also attended the event, said the EAIC can be more effective if its scope also included the local authorities.

“I hope that this will be eventually realised, but it requires in-depth consideration as local authorities fall under the purview of the state governments.

“The commission only handles agencies under federal law, so if it is to handle local authorities there will have to be legal amendments before that can happen,” he said.

Lee added that ensuring local authority officers are free from misconduct would both raise public awareness about EAIC as well as the level of trust that the public has in the governmental system as local authorities are often the first institution they interact with on a daily basis.