Joint Statement: Ensure IPCMC Set Up Without Delay

4 Dec 2019

The undersigned civil society organisations are concerned at the sudden announcement by the government on 3 Dec 2019 that the second reading of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill would be postponed to next year. This is especially concerning since it had already been announced on 2 Dec 2019 that the chair of the Special Select Committee on Bill Considerations YB Ramkarpal Singh would table the motion for the bill to be debated on 3 Dec 2019.

In our view, the formation of the IPCMC is one of the most important reforms in new Malaysia. The need for an independent oversight body focused on improving professional standards of the police and ensuring accountability for any alleged misconduct is a long-standing issue and cannot be put off any longer.

Despite the formation of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) 10 years ago, unfortunately, there are still regular reports of alleged police brutality, questionable police shootings and deaths in custody and outright corruption. Importantly, the EAIC does not have the power to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the police, despite findings of misconduct. We have thus seen cases where the EAIC has found serious misconduct such as tampering with diary entries and making false police reports by police officers, but have not seen any corresponding disciplinary action by the police.

The undersigned civil society organisations have participated actively in the consultations that have been held by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong together with the Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission (GIACC). Although we were disappointed that the bill was not made available for comment before it was presented in Parliament for first reading, we are nevertheless encouraged by the unprecedented level of engagement from the government after that point. We have submitted our oral and written views on how we thought the bill could be improved and brought in line with international best practices.

We were also part of the consultations held by the bipartisan Special Select Committee chaired by YB Ramkarpal Singh, where oral and written submissions were also made. We commend the government and the Special Select Committee for engaging with stakeholders on this issue. We are heartened that some of our submissions have been taken into account in the amendments that have been proposed by the government and by the Special Select Committee.

We hope that the delay is indeed to fine-tune the bill and not due to inordinate pressure against the bill. We note that the police have concerns regarding the commission having disciplinary powers over them. We would like to point out however, that these powers will be exercised not by the Commission directly, but by separate disciplinary boards that will consist of commission members, a representative from the police force and a representative from the Police Force Commission.

We hope that the government will remain true to its manifesto promise to establish the IPCMC without delay and we remain committed to engaging with them and supporting this effort wherever we can.

Endorsing organisations:
1. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
2. Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham)
3. Justice for Sisters
4. Malaysian Action for Justice and Unity (MAJU)
5. Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center)
6. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)

No more cronyism, organisations say to Ting, corporate sector

Source: The Edge Markets

PETALING JAYA (June 4): As many as 20 civil society organisations (CSOs) have urged Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing and the corporate sector in general to uphold transparency, accountability and integrity in all development projects, regardless whether the projects are publicly, privately or jointly owned and financed.

The CSOs said Ting’s announcement of a mega project that he plans to develop on Langkawi Island without first obtaining the authorities’ approval is disconcerting while raising concerns over compliance with regulatory requirements for such a project. Read more

Give us more bite, says Suhakam

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph says the government is legally obligated by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 to provide adequate funding for the commission to carry out its work. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, March 16, 2018.

THE Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is pushing for a parliamentary select committee on human rights to allow a legislative mechanism to address a “multitude” of significant issues.

In such a committee, findings and recommendations on human rights breaches can be formally presented to lawmakers in Parliament, which will then possibly followed by debates and possible amendments to the law.

Suhakam, a government body, has not had its annual reports debated in Parliament despite having submitted them since 2002.

“There are certain issues that should be discussed in Parliament,” said Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph.

“A parliamentary select committee on human rights is the proper way to find space (for our) agenda,” he said at a dialogue with civil society groups in Kuala Lumpur today.

Present were Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail and commissioner Mah Weng Kwai, with over a dozen representatives from civil society groups. Read more

Police mull getting NGOs to act as middleman with human trafficking victims

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — The police said today they will consider roping in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to help investigations on human exploitation and trafficking.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the suggestion was highlighted by several NGOs because exploited victims sometime feared repercussion from criminal syndicates if they spoke to law enforcement personnel.

“They know better than us because they are civilians and victims are more willing to talk to them.

“We will definitely pursue this matter as they have offered themselves to be the middleman on behalf of the police,” he said after attending an engagement session with NGOs on human trafficking at the federal police headquarters today.

About 60 people from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), the Malaysian Bar, and several human rights NGOs like Suaram and Tenaganita attended the dialogue organised together with the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrant (MAPO) under the Home Ministry. Read more

Honest journalism and better democracy — Tunku Zain Al-Abidin

Source: The Borneo Post Online

BY TUNKU ZAIN AL-ABIDIN

AT their best, you might assume that in a healthy democracy, the realms of journalism and civil society share the same goal. Both want to expand the space – whether in print, online, conference halls or on the streets – in which citizens can discuss the state of the country and debate the ideologies and policies that they believe will take the country forward.

At their worst, agents of both are compromised by undemocratic interests: even in countries regarded as established democracies, newspapers and so-called non-governmental organisations are seen as lobby groups under the thumb of certain political parties, corporations or trade unions. But at least this is mitigated by transparency in terms of ownership and funding, and more crucially, by competition in the media space. In dictatorships, these aspects are absent.

In Malaysia, the print media remains strongly regulated, but the space secured by the mass penetration of the Internet (and then specifically social media) as well as the more relaxed view towards civil society under Tun Abdullah Badawi (compared to the previous environment) has made permanent some avenues for the expression of alternative views. However, investigating certain topics or ‘insulting’ certain individuals are off-limits and can lead to the closure of your online portal or you being in jail. Read more

MPs urged to be present and vote against RUU355 if fast-tracked — Joint Statement

Published in: Malaysiakini

Dated 5 April 2017

We, the undersigned civil society organisations warn that if PAS president Hadi Awang’s bill to amend Act 355 is fast-tracked on Thursday and the motion to adopt it is passed, it will be adopted as a government bill as per Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s declaration on March 17.

Pic form Malaysiakini.

Pic form Malaysiakini.

To prevent this, all Members of Parliament who object to the bill must attend the Parliamentary meeting throughout April 6 (Thursday) to defeat Hadi’s Act 355 if it is fast-tracked again by an Umno minister as had happened twice on May 26 and Nov 24 last year.

The public and the parliamentarians must remember that Act 355 is alive despite BN’s U-turn on tabling it as a government bill. The BN may just fast-track the motion and allow its MPs to vote on it freely. If enough MPs who object to the bill have gone home early, it can be adopted as per Zahid’s declaration. The BN’s reversal on last Wednesday will then be shrewdly reversed.

As this is an ordinary bill, passing the motion will require only a simple majority. In other words, if only 60 MPs stay in the House when the motion to table the bill is put to vote, it can be passed with 31:29.

Hence, any parliamentarian who is absent when the bill is put on vote should be seen as silently supporting the bill, whatever their publicly-declared position is. If the motion is passed and the bill becomes a government bill, all those who are absent should be held responsible alongside those who vote for the motion. Read more

DPM expects full report from IGP on NGOs under investigation for receiving foreign funds

Source: The Malay Mail Online

TELUK INTAN, Dec 17 — Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar will be asked to give details on 20 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are suspected of receiving foreign funds.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that currently he did not have information on the matter.

“I will ask the IGP for the details on which are the 20 NGOs that have been investigated,” he told reporters after officiating the PDRM Health Examination Subsidy and Aid Scheme at the Hilir Perak District Police Contingent Headquarters, here today. Read more

Civil society demands that the government stops harassing and stigmatising NGOs ― Hakam & civil society NGOs

Source: The Malay Mail Online

>> The Memorandum

DECEMBER 15 ― 1. We, members of Civil society (represented by the organisations listed below) are greatly concerned by the recent developments pertaining to the arrest of Puan Maria Chin Abdullah under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, the summoning of activists from Suaram, Lawyers for Liberty and Empower for investigations, the police raid and seizure of the offices of Bersih and Empower and the numerous news reports making allegations against various organisations in respect of the foreign funding, including the Malaysian Bar Council.

2. We are also perturbed by news reports of the Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announcing the formation of a task force to probe into NGO funding and accusing them of enticing revolutions to topple the present government and news reports of Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan’s reply to the numerous concerns regarding local human rights issues raised by Maina Kiai the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in his recent visit to Malaysia. Read more

Low: More space needed for civil societies to express ‘frustrations’

Source: The Star Online

Datuk Paul Low, pic from the Star Online.

Datuk Paul Low, pic from the Star Online.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government needs to do more for civil liberties and societies, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low.

He said more space should be given to civil societies to “express their frustrations” and for the Government to hear them out and have constructive engagements.

Low, however, said civil liberties and human rights come with responsibilities.

“You cannot be ideal, there are borders and limits.

“Even in the area of expression, you cannot simply say something without understanding the consequences of what you are saying,” he told reporters on the sidelines at a dinner hosted by the German Ambassador to Malaysia His Excellency Holger Michael here on Tuesday.   Read more

Low: NGOs encouraged to engage with government to solve human rights issues

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Paul Low delivers a speech during the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Paul Low delivers a speech during the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Non-governmental organisations (NGO) are encouraged to engage with the government to solve the issue of human rights, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan.

He said when he first became minister, the first thing he found was that very few NGOs did research with the government and there was a serious lack in engagement with the civil society group.

“I did try to change the government culture engaging the civil society group and we have a lot to do about it.

“The first thing to do is constructing engagement and have a dialogue where we should be open to listen to other views but it takes times,” he said during the speech of the ‘Human Rights Awards Ceremony 2016’ here today. Read more