The recent case of the arrest and alleged abuse of a youth by plain-clothes policemen has once again raised the issue of the need for oversight on the police.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called for early approval by Parliament of the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill after recent reports alleging assault by plain-clothes policemen.

Suhakam said incidents of abuse of power or excessive use of force by the police were not new, adding that it had received 479 complaints of such cases between 2015 and 2020.

Although the country is currently under a state of emergency, the national rights body maintains that there is no need for anyone to abuse the power they have, no matter the situation.

It urged Putrajaya to ensure that the IPCC bill would include the “substantive essence” of the earlier Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill 2019 and the recommendations of the 2005 Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police report.

It said such an enforcement oversight body would be crucial in addressing reports of misconduct and excessive force by officers, adding that strong measures should only be used proportionate to the level of resistance met and the officers’ objectives.

“Suhakam is convinced that the establishment of a more independent, free and transparent body will go a long way in restoring and enhancing public confidence in the police force,” it said in a statement today.

Earlier this week, it was reported that a youth delivering frozen seafood in Pahang was stopped by plain-clothes policemen who allegedly pointed a gun to his head and assaulted him. He was later remanded and finally charged with obstructing a public servant in the discharge of his public functions as well as reckless and dangerous driving.

Roger Chan, who chairs a group of human rights lawyers, said the incident showed how there might have been abuse of power, torture and violence during the arrest and detention of the individual.


“We hope the law enforcement officers involved will step forward so that the matter can be resolved. We also hope the inspector-general of police will take cognisance of this incident,” Chan told the media in a virtual press conference on Monday.

Suhakam had previously complained that the IPCC bill lacked independence and had weakened functions compared with its predecessor, the IPCMC bill.

The IPCC bill is currently on hold pending the next Dewan Rakyat sitting. - Free Malaysia Today