EAIC commissioners’ terms lapse, no replacements named


(MM) – The tenures of a watchdog agency’s commissioners ran out on March 31 without any replacements named, sources said, even as its efficacy in checking police abuses was questioned by an international rights group this week.

The cessation became effective while the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission’s (EAIC) is yet to conclude ongoing investigation into one of two custodial death cases it was examining.

Further, the expiry of the six commissioners’ three-year term, including EAIC chairman Datuk Heliliah Mohd Yusof, comes after Human Rights Watch noted that the commission had insufficient resources and was “thinly staffed” with a single investigator.

“You have to ask Datuk Paul Low,” a source told The Malay Mail Online, when asked when the commissioners’ replacements will be appointed.

Low, who is a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of corruption and integrity, has insisted that the EAIC is independent, saying last June that while he oversees the EAIC, he has no authority to appoint or remove any of its personnel.

Aside from Heliliah, the five other EAIC commissioners who have served since the commission was formed in 2011 to address complaints of abuse against the police, and other law enforcement agencies, are Tan Sri Dr Zulkefli A. Hassan, Datuk Seri Robert Jacob Ridu, Professor Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin, Vinayak Prabhakar Pradhan, and Datuk Salehuddin Saidin.

Sources also told The Malay Mail Online that while the commission’s probe on the case of R. James Ramesh, who had died in a Penang police lock-up last May, was still active, the EAIC’s investigation on N. Dhamendran’s death in police custody was suspended pending the court trial against his four accused murderers.

But one source said the suspension should not be viewed negatively.

“You can’t subject the same people to the same round of investigations; it would be unfair to them,” said the person familiar with the investigations.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/eaic-commissioners-terms-lapse-no-replacements-named