Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Problem of the Royal Malaysian Police

On our dismal police abuses and conduct, in some cases allegedly criminal in nature, the Independent Commission's recommendations, such as banning the Police from employing the humiliating punishment of nude ear-squat, are but treatment of the symptoms rather than the root cause of the police maliase. While the Commission recommendations are still welcomed, we need to examine the true core issues. This may represent a closer truth to the crux of the matter.

Basically the Royal Malaysian Police, as a publicly appointed law enforcer, lacks public transparency and accountability on its conduct/actions, and worse, is resistant to change - so says the Commission investigating the Squatgate issue.

These observed traits form a terrible combination as a police force that refuses to be accountable for or show transparency for its actions would naturally feel immune to criticisms or even possible prosecution for its brutal commission of abuses against the very public it’s supposed to protect. The worst trait is the resistance to change and thus refusal to recognise its own ills and reluctance to improve.

I am not shocked at all, as we have already witnessed over the frustrating years numerous incidents of rambo-ish, arrogant and cruel behaviour by our so-called law guardian. The Squatgate shame had been, to use a worn out cliché, but the tip of a rotten iceberg, and came to light only because of its titillating characteristics.

Indeed, what the Commission has brought out is not new. It merely provides yet another report of a dysfunctional police force that may never see correction or improvement, notwithstanding the Prime Minister's instruction to the Police to make periodic announcement on its progess in implementing the earlier Commission recommendations.

The Commission also made another observation that the Police force has been insensitive towards the most fundamental of human rights and dignity. And how! This reflects on a prevailing attitude that engenders callous abuses.

It’s alright for the Commission Report to recommend that the police force must change its mindset and work towards a culture that is more effective, responsible and human rights sensitive. But KTemoc reckons treatment of the disease of corruption in ethics etc afflicting the police really requires a complete change of leadership and a major overhaul. A suppurating or gangrenous wound must be surgically and cleanly removed to prevent it from continuing to poison the body. The Commission's recommendations would come to nought, or at best, superficially addressed, with still the same senior officers remaining unscathed despite two damning reports on the police force.

The PM who is also the Internal Security Minister must make the hard call. The top officers, starting from the IGP and the deputy IGP, must go. There is no place for them for leading a shameful and disreputable police force.

There may be an attempt to excuse them on the argument that they were handed a rotten apple, but in truth, as senior officers, their seniority would indicate their long association with the abysmal condition, and most damning of all to them, that after assuming the leadership, they haven't done anything to improve the force. Instead, the rot within the organisation has continued - Squatgate, alleged deaths in custody, extortion of Japanese student, abuses of female Chinese nationals and sexual harassment of the same group of women who were detained in police lockup, etc.

Unless we see some major heads rolling, we should stop pretending that the Police force could ever change. The police suspension of the person who took the video clip does not address the real issue, of severe abuses, general corruption and the embarrassing lawlessness within the Police.

Go straight to the heart of the Police problem to ensure a true change of mindset and cultural change, namely the leadership! This would be one correct occasion to kill the chicken to frighten the monkeys! Get rid of the IGP, deputy IGP and some senior officers.

Bring in a clean outsider to head the revamped Malaysian Police - there is no necessity to have pre-requisite police experience as that person can consult policing experts/consultants, even if the new IGP has to recruit them from overseas. What he should have is a clean record with expert management and public governance experience. Combined with the permanent independent panel to monitor police conduct that the PM has promised, these may promise some redemption for the Police.

1 comment:

  1. Teresa Kok for IPCMC? She did all the work...