Sacking the IGP is only part of the solution

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“The reality is that we do not wash our own laundry - it just gets dirtier.”

– Frank Serpico, the man who exposed police corruption in New York

COMMENT | I have no idea if the Singapore Straits Times article is credible and if the top cop and the rest of the petty fiefdoms in the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) are about to get their night of the long knives. I sincerely hope so.

I really pity those cops who actually attempt to do some good on the job. Not only have they got to deal with a hostile public but they have to watch their backs when it comes to their comrades.

Some folks think that replacing or sacking the inspector-general of police (IGP) would go some way in resolving the issues that plague the PDRM but this action - part-punitive and part-reform - is merely the first step on the long arduous road to reforming the PDRM.

The reality is that the person who replaces the IGP must want to reform the police force and chances are that this cosmetic change of replacing an unpopular IGP will not do anything to ensure that we have a police force and not, as some would argue, a uniformed division of politically-affiliated thugs.

Someone once asked me what the atmosphere is like in the PDRM. This as a professional who served in the state security apparatus and having close links – at one time – with the PDRM. I said, imagine ‘Serpico’ but without the Frank Serpico. When I talk about corruption in the PDRM, I am not talking about the “duit kopi” stuff that average Malaysians are exposed to.

No, I am talking about the multi-million, perhaps billion-ringgit criminal enterprises which range from drugs to human trafficking. That is the foundation of police corruption in this country and which acts as a filtering system for recruits into the upper echelons of the criminal elite.

I will bet you my last ringgit that if there is ever a full-scale credible investigation into police corruption in this country, many politicians would be caught in the ensuing chaos that would make the 1MDB scandal look like a mischievous kid’s game.

When we talk about police corruption, we are talking about a system with links to international cartels and criminal enterprises which run the gamut from illicit substances to money laundering. Who knows what kind of legitimate businesses would be implicated in the complex money-laundering schemes that are part and parcel of police corruption in this country?

Wang Kelian is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the complicity of the state security apparatus and human trafficking in this country.

What about meth labs, drug houses, drug safe houses, illegal gambling dens, protection rackets, prostitution and the other illicit activities that happen in a country where the top cop in Terengganu can say that Malays are not involved in gangsterism?

Ah, race. That too. Kua Kia Soong in his book, ‘Racism and Racial Discrimination in Malaysia’, pointed out that post-1969, the system rejected a multi-racial police force and civil service in favour of policies that ensured that the racial composition of both favoured the dominant majority community.

This, of course, played well with the narrative that non-Malays were not interested in joining the state security apparatus and the civil service. This, of course, was to mean that the non-Malays were not patriotic and this horse manure was then used to justify policies that favoured one community over the others.

If the top cop has to go, then Pakatan Harapan is on the right track. But the removal is...

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