The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) are very much in the news lately, due to the arrests of many its personnel, among them senior officers, on suspicion of corruption and protecting drug and crime syndicates.
It is reported that a major reshuffle within PDRM is currently under way to beef up the most important law enforcement agency in the country.
Since Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the Home Minister, welcomes ideas, comments and suggestions from the people on measures to be undertaken by the police, I thought it is opportune for me to give my two sen worth.
In my lifetime, I have seen and heard enough of reforms, restructuring, revamp, and reshuffling of government agencies whenever there are some ‘upheavals’ or unusual events happening. But as I understand, performance usually does not come in ebb and flow. We need continuous commitment and consistency in purpose.
Rarely dependent on periodic revamp or major reshuffling will do the job. What we need is a robust and state of art day-to-day operating system able to tackle the problems as they emerge.
In Malaysia, we hardly nip the problem in the bud. We allow the problems to fester and grow because we are not able to take care of them routinely. That is why we have always ended up with revamping, reshuffling and restructuring but without much success. Please allow me to elaborate.
What PDRM need most is a system that provides monitoring, reporting, supervision, and reprimanding constantly and continuously.
When the integrity of many police personnel is found wanting, it speaks volume of the monitoring and supervision capability of their superior officers.
When some police personnel are found involved in protecting crime syndicates, can I say their superior officers are sleeping?
When police officers ‘collude’ with crime syndicates go undetected, what does it say of the monitoring, reporting and supervision systems within PDRM?
When some police officers have stayed too long and become too comfortable in a particular position, what can we imply on the competency and initiative of their superior officers?
When the rank and file of the force are inefficient and corrupt, we must first look at the integrity of their superior officers. It is inconceivable a corrupted senior officer would be able to supervise and reprimand the men under his care.
My take is we should not just look for a one-time ‘reshuffle’ to solve the problem in PDRM. The police need vigilant leadership able to provide constant monitoring, reporting and supervision of their men on the ground. Reshuffling without monitoring and supervision backed up by integrity is useless.