Bersih urges immediate police, prison reforms

08 Jul 2023 01:15pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - The coalition for clean and fair elections (Bersih) has called for government reforms in the police and prison systems, citing a critical increase in deaths in custody.

According to Bersih chairman Maria Chin Abdullah, the Immigration Department recorded 150 deaths in custody last year, with 11 deaths recorded by the police and nine by the Prisons Department.

Bersih proposed five measures for the government to implement within one to two years.

"Firstly, the independent oversight body of the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) should be reviewed to ensure impartiality. "This is crucial to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure it is not biased towards the government or the police," she said in a statement today.

Maria Chin suggested empowering the IPCC to investigate disciplinary matters and hold police officers accountable for serious abuses, as well as protecting whistleblowers from punishment or intimidation.

Therefore, she explained, the government needs to review the existing prison reform plan involving the Prison Department, police, related agencies and civil society.

She also proposed strengthening the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) to ensure effective and accountable action plans for all enforcement agencies under its jurisdiction.

"To achieve these reforms, the government should allocate increased funding in the upcoming 2024 budget," she added, highlighting the need for effective implementation.

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"Finally, there's a need to reinforce government agencies like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as independent institutions to combat corruption effectively," she added.