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LETTER | Police reform needed to restore image

LETTER | Police reform was one of the priorities during Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s years as prime minister which led to the formation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry to enhance the operation and management of the Royal Malaysia Police on Feb 4, 2004, and completed in 2005.

However, the recommendations that were proposed have yet to be fully implemented. Even when serious alarm bells rang with the murder of Mongolian national Altantuyaa Shaariibuu involving a senior and a junior police officer closely linked to the security of the prime minister, did not convince the corridors of power at the material time of the need to hasten reform.

Then came the explosive allegations by the former inspector-general of police Abdul Hamid Bador that there was a cartel of crooked cops in cahoots with criminals.

Recently, statements by the Criminal Investigation Department director, the inspector-general of police and his deputy implied there is a serious ongoing problem with command and control in the police service apart from the lack of supervision, emphasising on the problem of corruption, abuse of power and inappropriate use of force.

They called for the commanders on the ground to tighten supervision amongst the subordinates to ensure a higher level of responsibility and accountability. We have heard all this before.

It is worrying and the solution really lies in the full implementation of the said RCI’s recommendations in 2005 and specifically, the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

The fact that our most experienced and most tested former IGP Mohammed Haniff Omar was part of this commission, should have been the persuasive cue and guide for the police service to embrace the proposals in good faith.

It was the bitter medicine necessary for an already faltering police force at the material time and it’s a shame that his experienced foresight was not given priority by the police leadership to get the service back on track.

Valuable time has been lost, as more little Napoleons have emerged within the minority of police personnel misusing their authority and police powers affecting the overall image of the police apart from the adverse effects it has had on public trust and confidence.

I do not doubt that the present top echelon is serious in wanting a clean and efficient police service as depicted by their firm affirmative actions. However, it is counter-productive for the police to investigate themselves as morale and espirit de corp are thinned amongst colleagues it will have a profound negative effect when there are external threats or critical public order situations.

The effects of a short fuse and corrupt abuse of power have taken a toll on the image of the police force and require extraordinary firm steps in line with the recommendations of the findings of the said commission back in 2005.

We must waste no more time in getting the police force back on track for the sake of internal security and public service.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.