Media statements issued never do get media coverage, and if it does it often does not report all that is stated. Given the fact, there seem to be no real documentation of all these civil society voices, this Blog has been started hoping to capture and preserve the voices of civil society for all. Appreciate it if you could forward me ( statements that have not been picked up by this Blog.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) Calls for Immediate Implementation of IPCMC

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Media Statement For Immediate Release
 Gabungan Bertindak  Malaysia (GBM) Calls for Immediate Implementation of IPCMC
4 June, 2013

These days Malaysians go to bed with the shocking news of a custodial death only to wake the next morning to learn of another death in police custody. The custodians of law and order must take full responsibility for these custodial deaths.

From January 14 to June 1, 2013, eight custodial deaths have been reported. According to the chief of the police force these are apparently "unfortunate". Referring to the latest death in IPD Tampin, the IGP Khalid Abu Bakar had reportedly said in a text-message to The Malay Mail, “It's just unfortunate that he died in our lock-up."

In this connection, the Minister of Home Affairs had earlier said that he had to be careful about taking action against the police in order to ensure that it would not have any demoralising effect on the police force.

GBM regards both these statements as unbecoming of leaders who are duty bound to protect the people of this country and condemn them for being insensitive and indifferent towards the preservation of precious lives.

GBM notes with utter disgust that the wanton cruelty of the police personnel towards their victims has been so prominent all these years that a Royal Commission had to be set up in 2005 which among others concluded that deaths in the lock-ups are "a serious cause for concern".

The Royal Commission produced 125 recommendations to clean up the police force, the most important  being the setting up of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Almost eight years have passed, but the government has not shown any inclination to establish the IPCMC, which, in the opinion of GBM, legitimises the police force to continue with its wayward ways.

GBM, an alliance of 25 NGOs, fervently believes that this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue and calls upon the government to undertake the following actions without any further delays or excuses:

(1) To implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry immediately. There should be no overt or covert attempts to weaken the authority or terms of reference of the IPCMC.
(2) To undertake speedily all the other recommendations made by the Royal Commission of Inquiry. A schedule of implementation of the recommendations should be prepared by the Government for adoption by Parliament. 
(3) To appoint the Inspector-General of Police (IGP)  as recommended by an independent Selection Board consisting of a representative from the Home Ministry, retired judges, retired senior police officers, SUHAKAM commissioners, representatives of the Bar Council and other civil society organizations. If the recommendation is not accepted by the Home Minister, it should be automatically referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for hearing and decision making.
(4) To decentralize the Police Force from its present centralized authority, and to move the Federal Constitution provision relating to the police from the Federal List to the Concurrent List. At present, the police is exclusively emplaced within the Federal jurisdiction. This has led to the politicization of the police. The greatest benefit from decentralizing the police is that it allows local public feedback to be better incorporated into police work. This tie-up will ensure more effective crime prevention, and will definitely have a positive impact on police work.
(5) To take immediate action to arrest and charge all police personnel involved in the latest series of custodial deaths. Only through a swift and transparent judicial process will it enable the police force to clear its name!

Issued by the Executive Council of Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia

Note: GBM comprises of the following 25 civil society organisation members:

1)  Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) 吉隆坡暨雪兰莪中华大会堂
2)  Aliran 国民醒觉运动
3)  Tamil Foundation 淡米尔基金会
4)  Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM) 马来西亚回教革新理事会
5)  Majlis Perundingan Malaysia Agama Buddha; Krisitian; Hindu; Sikh dan Tao (MPMA-BKHST) 马来西亚五大宗教理事会
6)  Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH) 森美兰中华大会堂
7)  Penang Chinese Town Hall (PGCTH) 槟城华人大会堂
8)  The Federation of Chinese Associations Johore State (FCAJ) 柔佛中华总会
9)  Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre (LLG) 林连玉基金
10) United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (UCSAAM) 马来西亚华校校友会联合会总会
11) Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF) 穆斯林专业论坛
12) Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) 人民之声
13) Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS) 社区传播中心
14) Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) 马来西亚之子
15) Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas) 雪隆社区协会
16) National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT) 全国印裔权益行动组织
17) Peoples Green Coalition (PGC) 马来西亚人民绿色联盟
18) Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS) 砂拉越青年之子
19) All Womens Action Society (AWAM) 妇女行动协会
20) Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust) 沙巴社区伙伴信托组织
21) Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (Liu-Hua) 马来西亚留华同学会
22) Nanyang University Alumni Malaya (Nanda) 马来亚南大校友会
23) Japan Graduates Association, Malaysia (JAGAM) 马来西亚留日同学会
24) Gabungan Persatuan Alumni Universiti Taiwan Malaysia (GPAUTM) 马来西亚留台校友会联合总会
25) Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) 回教复兴前线组织


Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia(GBM)
Plan of Action for Malaysia  (PoAM)
c/o The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) GBM Secretariat
Phone: 03 2272 3594/012 320 6959    Fax:03 2272 4089

Online licensing effort a means to control online media and to stifle dissenting opinions.

CIJ views any online licensing effort as a means to control online media and in effect, an effort to stifle dissenting opinions. 

In a media monitoring exercise of GE13 coverage run by CIJ in collaboration with University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, of all types of media which were monitored -- online, newspapers, television and state media (Bernama and RTM) -- online news portals performed the best, giving approximately equal quantities and quality of coverage to both BN and Pakatan Rakyat. CIJ believes a key contributing factor is that online media -- unlike its print and broadcast counterparts -- is not regulated by the state and has more room to practice independence and fairness in reporting. 

Any form of online censorship, however indirect (eg through licensing), will affect access to information to media portals, currently the choice of urban, young and middle-class reading public -- the very constituencies which contributed heavily to BN government's worst showing in the recent general elections.    

We hope Information Minister Shabery Cheek's suggestion to study how online media can be regulated is not another step to teach Malaysians a lesson in voting for Pakatan Rakyat collectively more than for BN.

At best, the Minister's mulling over licensing is a cowardly idea lacking in imagination. 
There is no reason to copy Singapore's move, given our neigbour's poor standing in any world press freedom ranking. 

Minister Shabery Cheek mentioned that social media has become mainstream media. Has the Minister thought about how to implement licensing on Twitter and Facebook accounts -- run by commercial Internet giants -- which have more than 50,000 followers/likes? Singapore's licensing move covers websites that report regularly on issues relating to Singapore and those with 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore for a month over two months 

Online media enjoys strong support from the Netizens -- even for portals which require subscription. They are a source of news not just for those in Malaysia but also for the international community. Any form of licensing imposed on online media will be strongly opposed by civil society in Malaysia and the borderless online community. 

The Information, Communication and Culture Ministry is one of two bodies responsible to uphold MSC Malaysia's Bill of Guarantee No.7 -- to ensure no censorship of the Internet -- is respected. It needs to take steps to promote the exchange rather than curb the flow of information on the Internet. 

Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia
Tel: +603-4023 0772
Twitter: CIJ_Malaysia
Facebook: Centre for Independent Journalism

The Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia (CIJ) is a non-profit organisation that aspires for a society that is democratic, just and free, where all peoples will enjoy free media and the freedom to express, seek and impart information.