Towards Human Rights Base Policing in Malaysia

The Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police on 4 February 2004 made 125 recommendations focusing on three main areas of reform – crime reduction, eradicating corruption and observing human rights in policing the country.

The implementation process

The report renewed the hope of an independent, accountable and professional police in Malaysia. The public and concerned groups celebrated these recommendations and looked forward to their immediate implementation.

Until today, many of the recommendations made especially on human rights were not implemented despite the clear and specific timelines set by the Commission.

The lack of progress in implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations especially the matters dealing with human rights is due to the lack of political will on the part of the Malaysian government.

Among the recommendations that were yet to be implemented are:

• Amend section 27 of the Police Act 1967 which emphasise the need to have a police permit to organise gatherings.

• Amend section 73 of the Internal Security Act 1960 to allow a detained person to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours and be allowed access to family and lawyers and limit the detention period to a maximum of 30days.

• Amend section 3 of the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 to allow a detained person to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours and be allowed access to family and lawyers. The Commission also recommends limiting the detention period to a maximum of 30days.

• Repeal Restricted Residence Act 1933 that allows the preventive detention of suspected criminals in a specific residential area that may extend up to the lifetime of a person.

• Repeal Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 that allows the preventive detention of suspected criminals in a specific residential area that may extend up to the lifetime of a person.

• Conduct inquiries into all cases of custodial deaths and make the process more expeditious, transparent and accountable.

• Enhance Special Branch accountability with its powers and responsibilities spelt out in law so that it can function impartially and independently and to clearly define the term ‘security’ to avoid misconception and abuse of power.

Report of Human rights violations

In spite of these recommendations instances of police violence, abuse of power and human rights abuses continued as usual since the report of the Royal Commission were made public. Cases of death in custody, violent dispersal of peaceful demonstrators and other form of human rights violation continued to be reported.

Human Rights based policing

Amnesty International (AI) considers that a human rights approach to policing should be a primary goal of the police reform process in Malaysia and that human rights should be at the core of police philosophy and practice.

The organisation believes that there should be no conflict between human rights and policing.Indeed effective policing in a democracy depends on respect for human rights and the rule of law.

AI believes that there is a critical opportunity for the advance of a process of institutional reform leading to an accountable police service that respects and protects the human rights of all. We believe that a human rights approach to policing should be a primary goal of the National KRA and KPI. Hence, human rights should be at the core of police philosophy and practice. We believe that this approach would present the best means to ensure human dignity and the rights of every person in Malaysia while providing them with effective protection from crime. Indeed, effective policing in a democracy depends on its respect for human rights and adherence to the rule of law.

Write to the Prime Minister of Malaysia 

• Call for a total implementation of the Royal Commissions Report without further delay.

• Ask him demonstrate the political will on the part of the Malaysian government and make the Malaysian Police to comply to human rights standards as an important Key Performance Index (KPI).

YAB Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak
Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s Office Malaysia
Perdana Putra Building,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 PUTRAJAYA Malaysia.

Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

And also write to the Inspector General of Police and call on him to:

• To make compliance with human rights one of the three top priorities for PDRM.

• To launch a human rights education and information initiative in PDRM.

Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Inspector General of Police
Ibu Pejabat Polis,
Bukit Aman, 50560 Kuala Lumpur

Salutation: Dear Sir

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