Call to Abdullah to convene a special three-day parliamentary debate next month to do justice to the Police Royal Commission, its Report and 125 recommendations and to establish a parliamentary mechanism to oversee police reform to transform the 100,000 police force into a modern, world-class institution
Media Conference Statement (1)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Tuesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should convene a special three-day parliamentary debate next month to do justice to the Police Royal Commission, its Report and 125 recommendations and to establish a parliamentary mechanism to oversee police reform to transform the 100,000 police force into a modern, world-class institution.
The next Dewan Rakyat meeting is for 14 days from June 20 to July 12, but this parliamentary schedule was fixed before the release of the Police Royal Commission Report, which deserves immediate parliamentary attention with at least a three-day debate.
There are two choices for the holding of this special three-day parliamentary debate on the Police Royal Commission report – either starting the three-day debate on June 20 and extending the meeting by another three days after July 12, or alternatively, calling a special three-day special parliamentary meeting to debate police reforms for a modern, world-class police force before June 20, possibly in the second week of June.
Parliament will be doing a grave injustice to the Police Royal Commission as well as failing the hopes and aspirations of 26 million Malaysians who want to see a transformation of the Malaysian police force into a modern world-class police institution if Members of Parliament are not prepared or allowed to have a special debate on the Police Royal Commission Report at the earliest available date.
As the Police Royal Commission Report pointed out, Parliament has an important role to play in the challenging task to create a revitalized, modern, effective and trustworthy police force for the 21st century by putting in place external oversight mechanisms to usher in the shift to a new era of police accountability.
There is another reason why Parliament must meet urgently to debate the Police Royal Commission Report – the implementation of its 125 recommendations.
Abdullah has committed himself to implement the recommendations of the Police Royal Commission and has set up a task force under him to decide how best to categorise the 125 recommendations for immediate, medium and long-term implementation.
The Prime Minister may not have been fully briefed that the Commission in its Report has already made such a categorization in proposing a time-frame for the implementation of the 125 recommendations, with each recommendation given a proposed date of completion. If the government accepts the 125 Commission recommendations, it must also accept the respective dates of completion for the 125 recommendations.
The Commission has proposed that the implementation of five of these 125 recommendations should be completed next month, (June 2005), viz:
No. 13 - Make crime reduction priority No. 1 for PDRM.
No. 16 - Make community policing a central strategy for crime prevention.
No. 26 - Establish reasonable grounds before arrest.
No. 46.- Make eradicating police corruption one of the three PDRM reform priorities.
No. 56 – Make compliance with human rights and prescribed laws one of the three top priorities of PDRM.
There are 21 recommendations which are slated to be fully implemented by August this year, including:
No. 1 - Adopt a new PDRM motto.
No. 2 - Review and refine the Vision Statement.
No. 4 - Strengthen PDRM’s value system.
No. 5 - Develop a doctrine of PDRM leadership.
No. 6 - Articulate and implement a proper code of ethics.
No. 7 - Shift from a “force” paradigm to a “service” paradigm.
No.53- Launch joint operations (with other law enforcement agencies on police corruption).
There are 22 recommendations with date of completion for implementation by December this year, including:
No.47 - Adopt a proactive anti-corruption strategy.
No.49 - Review and strengthen PDRM’s anti-corruption mechanism in the Disciplinary Division.
No.51 – Implement regular job rotations and tenure limitation.
There are four recommendations whose implementation is “continuous” and three “in phases – completion by May 2007”. Two are in the category “until adequate representation accomplished”, viz:
No. 81 – Enhance ethnic representation in PDRM
No. 82 – Increase gender representation in PDRM.
With 48 of the 125 recommendations to be implemented by end of this year (i.e. five by June, 21 by August and 22 by December this year), the next six months will be an acid test as to whether Abdullah is serious not only in establishing the Police Royal Commission, but to implement its recommendations for police reform.
This is why there should be no undue delay in convening Parliament to debate the Police Royal Commission recommendations.
Furthermore, Parliament should also have the opportunity to disagree with the Police Royal Commission on the time-frame for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission, which is key to any strategy to restore public confidence in the professionalism, efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of the police force.
Such a proposal is long overdue and this is why the May 2006 timeline given by the Commission for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission is excessively and unnecessarily long. As the Police Royal Commission in its Report has annexed a draft Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission Bill 2005, it should be tabled in the June meeting of Parliament so that the seven-member Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission could be established without any delay and be operational by the last quarter of the year.
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman