KUALA LUMPUR: A Bill to pave the way for the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) has been postponed again, effectively dashing any hope of seeing it in place before the year ends.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong (pix) announced at the Dewan Rakyat today that the Bill would now be tabled for its second reading in the next parliamentary session in March next year.
This was met by cheers and claps from the opposition bench, which has long opposed the setting up for such a commission, claiming it was unnecessary.
At a press conference later, Liew explained that the postponement was to allow for its contents and provisions to be ironed out even further.
“We are looking for more room for improvement. As the government we need to listen to the people, and that’s what we have been doing the past few months,” he said.
The Bill was tabled for first reading in July, but it was later referred to the Parliament Special Select Committee for the Consideration of Bills in October for more feedback in response to strong objections from the opposition.
Committee chairman Ramkarpal Singh, who was supposed to table the findings and wind up the debate today, said he had only learned about the postponement this morning.
“As far as I am concerned, the committee has done its duty, and so have I when I brought the report to Parliament today,” he said.
However, Liew denied that the Bill was pulled out at the eleventh hour, claiming the Cabinet, the select committee and the relevant stakeholders had been informed much earlier.
Just before the report was to be tabled today, word got out that the Bill might be postponed at the last minute as there were claims that some government lawmakers would vote against it.
Liew dismissed any such claims, explaining that this was a government Bill and would therefore demand the support of the all government lawmakers.
“This is the concept of collective responsibility. When the chief whip issues a directive, all lawmakers should abide by this. Otherwise, action will be taken against them,” he said.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the opposition welcomed the government’s decision to postpone the tabling of the IPCMC Bill.
“We hope they won’t just stop there, but to ultimately scrap it altogether, as we already have other existing instrument to oversee the conduct of the police,” he said.
When established, the IPCMC will act as an independent body to monitor the integrity of the police and probe complaints of misconduct involving its personnel, replacing the current Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission.