10 December 2008

Gov plans new commission on police, enforcement agencies

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — The government will set up an Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission next year as part of reforms to the police and other agencies with enforcement powers.

Besides the police, the new commission, expected to be known by its Malay acronym Siap (Suruhanjaya Integriti Agensi Penguatkuasa), will have jurisdiction over Customs, Immigration and other agencies with public enforcement powers.

The commission will set out procedures and guidelines on how enforcement is to be conducted, as well as investigate complaints of misconduct and abuse of power.

An aide to the Prime Minister told The Malaysian Insider today that a bill will be tabled in Parliament next year and forms the final package of Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi’s reforms he intends to complete before leaving office.

Abdullah tabled two bills today for the formation of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

The new commission appears to be an enhanced version of the aborted Special Complaints Commission to deal with complaints of misconduct and abuse of power against the police.

In 2005, the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police had recommended the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

In 2007, the government instead tabled a bill to form a Special Complaints Commission which would have both the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Agency as automatic members.

This bill was withdrawn amid heavy criticism and was due to be retabled early this year, but Parliament was dissolved ahead of the March 8 general elections.

A new bill to set up the new commission on enforcement agencies is likely to be tabled in Parliament at the beginning of 2009.

“You can call it a revised version of the police commission,” the aide to the PM said.

The Malaysian Insider was told that in principle, the proposed commission has been accepted by the relevant parties, including the Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

Some finer details are still being finalised.

Speaking to the press in Parliament today, the Prime Minister said he hoped the MACC and JAC bills would be passed by the end of the current sitting of Parliament on Dec 18.

“Well, I hope to,” he said at a press conference after tabling the bills at 11.40am this morning.

“If we are serious and not rambling, because you can debate for a month and not finish, but if we are focused and just stick to what is necessary, not meandering, I think we can get it passed by end of the year,” he added.

However, he said that it was up to the Speaker to decide how much time will be allocated to debate the second and third readings required to pass a bill.

“Various parties will have their own views and stand, but what is important is that the approach and negotiations have already been done with various parties. Views have been taken into account to table this bill. It is not a compromise but an approach that is acceptable by all,” he added.

Abdullah said that these bills were important to address the untoward perception on Malaysia’s level of corruption and judicial integrity.

He also reiterated that he was acting on promises made during the 2004 general election to bring reform to institutions in the country.

“I do not want to talk about legacy. It is what should be done. I should have done it in the past four years but a lot of other things got in the way. I shall work until the last second I am PM,” he said.

He also denied reports that certain BN MPs were not happy with the formation of the JAC.

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