PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council yesterday said it was heartened by the acknowledgment of a former top cop that the police needed an independent oversight body.
Its president, Lim Chee Wee said the call made by former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan was timely and would be strongly welcomed by most.
Musa had called on the government to set up an independent body to oversee police conduct in the wake of several custodial deaths. Musa said he preferred an alternative to the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as he disagreed with one of the clauses that barred police officers from appealing action taken against them.
He said an alternative to the IPCMC is the Police Integrity Commission.
Lim said while Musa might be right about a particular shortcoming of the proposed IPMC, that does not mean it cannot be established.
"The model which Musa proposes is merely the same creature with a different name."
Lim said Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin's (former chief justice) Police Royal Commission Report on the proposed IPCMC Bill contains adequate powers for investigation, prosecution and discipline.
Lim said majority of the police force are honest and competent and the IPCMC will sort out the rotten apples.
Meanwhile MIC strategy director S. Vell Paari said in any organisation, there will be some bad apples and they must be weeded out.
He said he supported Musa's call for an independent oversight body.
Vell Paari said there has been a loss of confidence in the police force especially among the Indians in view of recent events.
He said one of the ways to bring back confidence is to have set up an independent body overseeing the police.
"The loss of confidence can affect society as the educated will start leaving if they feel that the police are no longer able to protect them.
"The brain drain will have an effect on the country as we will be left with the less educated and frustrated group of people who may turn to violence to express their feelings," Vell Paari said.
Bersih co-chairpeerson Datuk S. Ambiga said the IPCMC should be the body to oversee police misconduct.
"The IPCMC is an all encompassing body as suggested by the Royal Commission because it does not matter what the name of the body is, its more important to have proper oversight into police misconduct," Ambiga said.