Are they cops or robbers?

Cops and robbers



[COLOR=#707070 !important]Mariam Mokhtar
| December 14, 2012[/COLOR]
Has an internal audit been conducted to gauge what policemen think of their senior officers?
COMMENT

The PDRM is a force in crisis; when three suspects, two Colombians and a Zambian escaped en-route to the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court last week, suspicion fell on the police.


This is in addition to the police being implicated in deaths in custody and the indiscriminate shooting of teenagers. The public complains that the police respond immediately to Umno politicians and their cronies, but are slow to come to the aid of the rakyat.


Former IGP Musa Hassan has made accusations of meddling in the running of the PDRM and the improper conduct of its senior officers, but has anyone stopped to ask what the rank-and-file members of the police think?


The police and Home Ministry have devised methods for the public to rate the efficiency of the police services, but has an internal audit been conducted to gauge what policemen think of their senior officers?

Do they think their top cops are able leaders, with integrity? Do they feel that the PDRM has been politicised?

Would policemen feel confident of receiving an efficient service, if they were to seek police help, as members of the public?


Although the Malaysian public has experienced high levels of serious crimes and many have remained unresolved, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein soured relations between the rakyat and the police by stating that this was merely the rakyat’s perception. The current IGP Ismail Omar attracted ridicule when he claimed that only 1% of policemen were corrupt.


Musa alleged that gang leaders had a say in police transfers and promotions. He also alleged that senior politicians used to issue orders to junior police officers and bypass senior policemen. He poured scorn on his successor and called him ineffective.


Despite the apprehensions of the rakyat, Hishammuddin claimed that the recently launched Short Messaging Service (SMS) rating system, whereby the public could leave feedback on the quality of police service, had been “overwhelmingly successful” and that in the first 10 months of 2012, over 90% of people who used the service were “very satisfied”.


Perhaps Hishammuddin and Ismail could conduct a similar survey for their own policemen.


Open to abuse


The picture painted by the Home Ministry differs from the experience of the public. In a recently conducted trial, which was reported in another online newspaper, Inspector Luther Nurjib of the Dang Wangi police station is alleged to have used the cover of his undercover work to sell drugs. He had also been implicated in the theft of a Rolex watch from a suspect in another crime.


It was evident from the trial, that procedures for dealing with police informants were flawed and open to abuse. Entrapment appeared to be commonplace. Corruption seemed to be more widespread than the IGP had previously admitted.


Musa’s allegations are of an equally serious nature. He alleged that the attorney-general and the former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) (now renamed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC)) were complicit in framing the former Commercial Crimes Investigation Department director Ramli Yusuff and six other police officers.


If the AG’s name cropped up, why has the law minister, the home minister and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak not ordered an investigation into these allegations and either quash them or bring those who responsible for perverting the course of justice to book?


The same should be done to investigate the MACC, but no one appears to want to make the first move.


Musa also alleged that gang leaders would “advise” him on which policemen to promote or have transferred and that the Internal Security Ministry was also complicit in the awkward decision making process. Are Najib and Hishammuddin not aware of these activities?


This is disturbing; so, who runs the Malaysian police force? Do criminal syndicates call the shots? Does the PDRM have joint bosses – the politicians and criminal masterminds?


Is the PDRM running along the lines of the Sicilian mafia?


True, dedicated policemen know what their bosses get up to and this must be demoralizing. When they see their fellow officers being brought to trial but criminal gang-leaders being set free, the police must feel that they are not getting the support of their own government.


Power struggle


A policeman from Ipoh, who prefers to remain anonymous said: “My father was a policeman and I followed in his footsteps. I am sad at what is happening in the PDRM, and have discouraged my two sons from following in my footsteps. Morale is at an all time low and there is no more job satisfaction. Until our leaders do something to stem the rot, I fear that we will have lost the proud traditions of our force.”


Musa was reviled as a policeman and as an IGP, was called the running dog for Umno. He withdrew his suit against Opposition Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, a few months ago and recently made damning revelations about senior politicians, the AG and the MACC.


Are his allegations a desperate attempt to reform the police, despite the fact that he is a person few trust?


Or are his revelations a form of power struggle, to show that he can still do untold damage to Umno, which he feels has let him down?


The government appears to be unaware of the problems faced by policemen. The unwillingness to investigate Musa’s allegations or dispel them entirely, are undermining the police.


The failure of the Home Ministry, which Musa has implicated, has caused a crisis of morale in the police force. No Umno politician has demanded that this matter be treated with the utmost urgency.


When it comes to the crunch, Umno politicians will not hesitate to risk the lives of policemen to protect them; but when it comes to tackling the communication breakdown and low morale in the police, Umno politicians refuse to put their reputations on the line.

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.