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Overall welfare of police force must be improved before introducing IPCMC: Upko

By Sabah News Today

KOTA KINABALU: The overall welfare of the police force must be comprehensively increased before an improved Independence Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission 2019 (IPCMC) Bill is tabled for Parliment approval.

“Upko supports the IPCMC to be passed but with conditions, that several amendments and additions are done. As it is, the bill will give rise to a lot of doubts and misgivings.

TALKING POINTS …. Angang (second from left) briefing Tangau about the Upko submission as Lettong (left) and Lalung look on. SNT Pix/Credit Upko

“Upko supports the proposed IPCMC but the introduction of the bill must be balanced with the improvement and support towards the welfare of the police so that they can perform their duty to the highest standard as expected of them,” said Nelson W Angang.

The Secretary General of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) stressed, “The intention of the bill should also be seen as helping to protect the integrity of the police and to improve public perception towards PDRM, it should not be seen as a punishment towards PDRM.”

He said this when representing Upko in the on going public hearing done by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Consideration of Bills concerning IPCMC at the Federal Administrative centre here on Sunday.

“From my experience dealing with criminal cases I know that there are investigating officers who has limited resource in trying to do his job. I also came across where the IOs have to purchase their own printers, the papers and some of the assets for them to be able to perform their duties,” said Nelson who is a practising lawyer.

“If we expect quality investigation and a high standard of service from the police force then we must provide the means and the assets for them to perform to the highest quality.

“You cannot expect the police to perform and raised their standard by the introduction of IPCMC but at the same time does not improved the conditions and welfare of the PDRM.

“There has always been the the problem of lack of investigating officers who has to be burden by so many cases for them to investigate. Some of the criminal cases that were lost in court were because of the lack of quality of investigations.

“In most cases I don’t blame the IO’s because the lack of quality of investigation is cause by the shortcomings face by these IO’s. This In itself is one of the cause where allegations of misconduct by police arises from unhappy complainants. The police must be provided with sufficient support and assets. We must never compromise security of our nation because of the lack of fund,” he said.

Nelson also pointed out that the proposed draft bill seems to contradict on the power of the commission in handling criminal complaints.

Section 25 (b) states that any complaint regarding criminal offences shall be referred to the relevant authorities whereas section 22(1)(f) allows for the commission to accept and deal with the complaints of criminal offences committed by a member of the police force.

He argued that if the commission does not have the power to investigate complaints of criminal offences against police personnel then that would in itself defeat the purpose of the bill.

The issue of separation of powers and check and balance also comes into question in the draft bill, he said.

“If there is a right of appeal concerning the decision of the disciplinary board, where does this right of appeal goes to?

“Does it go to an appeal board before the commission or to the court?

“Because if the appeal is also heard by the establishment of an appeal board before the commission, then it seems that the commission has the power to received complaints, investigate the complaints, decide whether there is a misconduct and even to hear the appeal from the decision of the commission itself.

“That is just not right. Justice must be seen to be done and the issue of check and balance must be address,” he said.

Apart from Angang, vice president Datuk Pengiran Lalung and party lawyer Jacky Lettong were also present.

Upko President, Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau is a member of the select committee.-SabahNewsToday