My letter to Malaysiakini, basically a composite of my earlier postings but in more formal prose, was published yesterday. Below is a copy:
We continue down the road of further official proselytising, except this time it's initiated by the inspector-general of police (IGP). Here we have the No 1 person in charge of a dysfunctional law organisation violating the rights of non-Muslim police officers.
A Royal Commission of Inquiry into police conduct had already made more than 100 recommendations for improvement of the police force, yet its leader opted to mess around with the non-relevant issue of women's dressing.
Therein lies the root cause of the police problem – sheer bad leadership without a clue nor the will to resolve very serious and pressing police problems. That's why we have issues of alleged police abuses from Squatgate to Botakgate, with all sorts of complaints in between ranging from foreign wives of Malaysian citizens illegally hauled in and detained at police stations and then made to suffer the humiliation and trauma of being peeped at and ogled by police personnel, and then terrorised by a midnight visit after they lodged a complaint.
We have read in the newspapers of a Japanese student suffering police extortion, while a single mum in Kuala Lumpur out for an evening with her two teenage daughters experienced the trauma of seeing her daughter's buttocks fondled by police personnel, who added insult to injury by charging them for no reason other than they had the guts to speak out against the sexual abuse.
And worse, according to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), there have been 80 custodial deaths between 2000 and 2004 with only eight inquests were carried out. This is truly scary.
By the way, has anyone heard of any police personnel being called to account since then or at least have the cases resolved, except for the personnel who revealed the scandal of the Squatgate abuse with his video-clip?
In the midst of these disgusting and disgraceful events, what did the IGP do? He indulged in meaningless shallow gimmickry like making his officers wear 'Saya Anti-Rasuah' badges, as if those contain an Aladdin's genie that would whisk away the foul odour of corruption. He messes around with the policewomen’s clothing as if Islamic values would, in his own words, permeate into his police force.
Are we seriously countenancing this man as the highest law enforcing officer of the land, and indeed even worse than that, expecting him to resuscitate the once-renowned glory and integrity of his police force?
Puhleeeze. Even a schoolchild would know that it takes more than a cheap badge or a headscarf to cover the rot that corrupts his organisation. But wait, there's more.
He talks about the need for 'uniformity' as a reason to demand that even non-Muslim female officers don the ‘tudung’. His explanation, like his gimmicks, is sheer nonsense. I will now shoot that rubbish down as it richly deserves.
For decades, if not centuries, in the Royal Malaysian Police or any branch of the Armed Forces, the Sikh members of these two services have worn turbans without other members required to wear the same turban to show 'uniformity' on formal parades. The services even provided their Sikh personnel with turbans to reflect the colours of their respective regiments or services.
When Sikh personnel in their magnificent turbans were/are on parade with their non-Sikh colleagues in the Armed Forces or police, no one could detect any discernible lack of uniformity but rather an impressive and unique Malaysian picture of smartness, which we have been and still are proud of.
The reality has been the IGP jumping on the Islam-centric bandwagon to score brownie points with some ministers and lawmakers, and to distract from far more urgent matters afflicting his organisation. The old saying of 'throwing plenty of it around and some will eventually stick' seems to apply most appropriately to his gimmickry.
Then, opposition leader Lim Kit Siang alerted us to the IGP for being insubordinate by torpedoing a prime ministerial decision to establish the IPCMC, and doing so openly and defiantly without regard for public service propriety.
The prime minister and/or internal security minister must reprimand him in the severest manner and rein in his lack of awareness that he is no more than a mere public servant taking orders from the people's elected representatives, and not run with his own irrelevant policies. Better still, the PM sack him.