MADPET is for the Abolition of Death Penalty, an end of torture and abuse of rights by the police, an end to death in custody, an end to police shoot to kill incidents, for greater safeguards to ensure a fair trial, for a right to one phone call and immediate access to a lawyer upon arrest, for the repeal of all laws that allow for detention without trial and an immediate release of all those who are under such draconian laws.
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
The EAIC is still needed (Star)
The EAIC is still needed
Tuesday, 13 Aug 2019
Enforcement failure? The ammonia leak in the ice factory in Shah Alam being checked. — Filepic
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
is appalled by the decision of the Pakatan Harapan-led government to
abolish the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) vide the
proposed Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)
Section 51 of the new Bill states, “The Enforcement Agency Integrity
Commission Act 2009 [Act 700] (the “repealed Act”) is repealed and the
Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (the “dissolved Commission”) is
dissolved.” (At bit.ly/new_act.)
While the future IPCMC would be dealing with complaints about police
officers, the EAIC is currently dealing with complaints about almost all
other enforcement agencies’ officers, including the Immigration
Department, Housing and Local Government Ministry, Labour Department,
Industrial Relations Department, Department of Occupational Safety and
Health, Road Transport Department and the Department of Environment.
A perusal of the statistics of complaints received indicate that
complaints were received concerning many agencies other than the police.
The recent pollution incident in Pasir Gudang, Johor, and subsequent
events indicate the failings of many of these enforcement agencies –
they seem to have failed to do their work efficiently, only seeming to
start acting after the failure in enforcement resulted in a catastrophe.
It was shocking when so many illegal factories were discovered after
the Paris Gudang incident, and how so many summons for violations of
laws were issued to factories after the incident. This is an indication
of the failure of the responsible enforcement agencies, even after
Pakatan Harapan formed the government in May 2018.
There was the case where two workers died when ammonia leaked at an ice factory in Shah Alam (“Ammonia leak at ice factory: Two dead, 18 hurt”,
The Star, Aug 13; online at bit.ly/star_leak). An inspection by the
Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) found that the premises had a licence to
carry out ice processing activities but was not permitted to store
hazardous materials (“MBSA: Ice factory had no licence to store
hazardous materials”, The Star, Aug 13; online at bit.ly/star_hazard).
This, again, is a failure of the local council, Department of
Occupational Safety and Health under the Human Resources Ministry and
There have also been many other allegations concerning failings of
Human Resources Ministry enforcement officers, likewise the Department
As such, Madpet is of the position that the EAIC is still very much
needed, and that its powers should be extended to prosecution.
The scope of agencies covered by the EAIC should also be extended to
maybe cover the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Prisons
Department and even the Election Commission.
The fundamental problem with the efficiency of the EAIC, and soon the IPCMC, is the lack of public awareness.
Along with that, there is also a problem with the public’s confidence
in such commissions, about whether there is any use lodging complaints
or bringing issues to their attention.
As such, it is important that the public is made aware of actions
taken, including the number of errant officers prosecuted and/or
disciplined and for what.
This will restore the public’s faith and more people will come forward to highlight wrongdoings.
Complainants should also be kept updated of the outcome of their complaints.
The third issue is the question of public access – there really
should be an office of the EAIC, and soon the IPCMC, in all major towns.
These commissions should also have sufficient staff to carry out the
Many of the wrongdoings by enforcement agencies impact negatively on
people and their rights. The wrongdoings can impact the environment and
health, and some of these impacts are irremediable. As such, mere
disciplinary actions like fines, transfers or demotions simply are not
adequate. There should also be public prosecutions of all such
wrongdoers. While this will serve as a deterrent to others, such public
trials will also improve the image of the administration of justice and
Even the proposed IPCMC Bill ought to be amended to give the
commission the power to prosecute, and not merely the power to
The names of all officers fined and/or disciplined should also be made public, along with the nature of their wrongdoings.
The EAIC, in the past, did conduct several inquiries, including into
deaths in custody but, alas, there seemed to be no action taken.
For example, in the death in custody case of Syed Mohd Azlan Syed
Mohamed Nur, who died in 2014, the EAIC found that “... the use of
physical violence by police during arrest and questioning was the cause
of death” (bit.ly/malaysian_bar). Furthermore, “According to the
enforcement watchdog, its investigations also found attempts to obscure
evidence from the 25-year-old’s interrogation that resulted in 61
separate injuries on various parts of his body.” We have not heard about
the prosecution and trial of these police officers who broke the law.
This reminds us of the findings in April 2019 of the enforced
disappearances of Pastor Koh and Amri Che Mat by Suhakam (the Human
Rights Commission of Malaysia). It has been almost four months since the
findings were made public and we still see no action.
It is a waste of time to have such commissions, including the EAIC,
if the government fails to act on their findings. That is why all these
commissions – Suhakam, the EAIC and the future IPCMC – should have
prosecutorial powers. The lack of action by the government will only
dampen the commitment of such commissions.
Therefore, Madpet calls on:
> the government to retain the EAIC and remove Section 51 from the proposed IPCMC 2019 Bill that is now before Parliament;
> the government to amend laws to give the EAIC, Suhakam and the proposed IPCMC prosecution powers;
> the government to adopt a stringent policy with regard to public
servants, whereby a failure in duty – that may violate rights,
including by impacting on public health or the environment, and/or that
may bring about injustice – will result in termination and also trial in
an open court.
This includes the failure to inform the relevant authorities when senior or fellow officer(s) and/or ministers break the law.
> the Attorney General and/or the government to immediately
prosecute police officers found to have killed and/or tampered with
evidence in the cases of Syed Mohd Azlan and others.
Let the courts determine guilt and innocence.
For and on behalf of Madpet (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) - Star, 13/8/2019