The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has voiced concern over the alleged assault of a civilian by the police based on suspicion that he was involved in the smuggling of cigarettes, calling for the early enactment of the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill to oversee the conduct of the police force in the country.
In a statement, it said the use of force should only be necessary and proportionate to the law enforcement’s objective and the level of resistance encountered.
“In accordance with the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime Handbook on Police Accountability, Oversight and Integrity, Suhakam is of the view that an effective review process by an enforcement oversight body is crucial particularly in addressing cases of misconduct concerning excessive or unlawful use of force and firearms by police officers,” it said.
“Suhakam is convinced that the establishment of a more independent, free and transparent body will go a long way in restoring and enhancing public confidence in the police force.”
Recent reports said a 21-year-old man had accused police officers in plainclothes of assaulting him and firing a warning shot at him before arresting him on suspicion of involvement in cigarette smuggling.
Suhakam said while the country is currently under a state of emergency, this does not warrant the abuse of power in any situation.
It added that it had received 479 complaints about excessive use of force and abuse of power by the police between 2015 and 2020.
“The abuse of power by law enforcement authorities is not something new,” it said.