Nobody has ever punished the PDRM - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun
Malaysiakini : Police business is a hell of a problem. It’s a good deal like
politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there’s nothing in it
to attract the highest type of men. So we have to work with what we
get.- Raymond Chandler, The Lady in the Lake
| Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun's lament that it
seemed like the Suhakam report on the kidnappings of activists Amir Che
Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh was punishing the Royal Malaysian Police
Force (PDRM) is predictable in its victimhood.The sad
reality is that PDRM has been mired in corruption, violence and
misinformation for as long as I can remember. The Suhakam report is just
another reminder of how far the police have fallen in the eyes of the
Nowhere is this more clear than in the infamous Copgate
affair, where former Commercial Crime Investigation Department director
Ramli Yusuff exposed the criminal underworld links between alleged
mobster Goh Cheng Poh, or Tengku Goh, and the inspector-general of
police then, Musa Hassan. Musa served as IGP from 2006 to 2010. This
case points to the nexus between criminal enterprises, police collusions
and political power.
Here is an extract of the whole sordid affair. You can read the full article here. “Tengku Goh is reportedly an underworld boss who enjoyed Musa's backing when Musa was Johor police chief. "Musa
was said to have eliminated all loan sharks, money laundering
syndicates, gaming and drug syndicates and crime lords in Johor, but
allowed Tengku Goh to continue operating - until the Bukit Aman CCID
found out about Goh's activities.
"As a result of this discovery,
called the Copgate affair, Ramli and his men were instead hit with
trumped-up charges by attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, who was
accused of colluding with the then police chief.” Keep in mind
this is the police force where two years ago Terengganu police chief
Aidi Ismail claimed that there was no gangsterism in his state because
“97 percent of the population are Malays and they still respect older
people in their villages. They respect the village chief, imam and
bilal. Such a way of life is an advantage that can prevent gangsterism-related crimes."
And let us not get into the whole Wang Kelian nightmare.
I have no idea what the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Wang
Kelian will expose, but if it is a genuine commission, I think
Malaysians would be shocked to discover how deep the rot goes in the
state security apparatus. I believe most Malaysians are cynical of the
PDRM, and more importantly, of the efforts to reform it. Furthermore,
will this RCI also reveal the collusion of the political apparatus?
am sure there are good cops in the PDRM. The irony, of course, is those
good cops may also be part of the system of low-level corruption, but
they carry out their duties in a way which is beneficial to whichever
social strata they engage with. The system is complicated and it would
be simplistic to ignore such realities.
However, I would argue
that reforming the PDRM is more a political problem than an
institutional one. While social activists, former law enforcement
officers and various pressure groups are clamouring for reform, the
people most often standing in their way are not from the PDRM – who do
want reform for various reasons – but political operatives who stand to
benefit from alliances with power groups within the PDRM.
the Copgate example, do you really think that political operatives in
the establishment were in the dark? Keep in mind that the then home
minister Hishammuddin Hussein (above) said: "Prove it, prove it. If they prove it, we can take action." Unfortunately for him, there was proof under his nose, as detailed here.
people talk about reforms, they talk about something like the
Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). While
this is a constructive first step, what is really needed is a complete
overhaul of the system. This, of course, is not something that can be
done overnight, but which is something a committed government could
start in one term.
It is a very complicated issue. One former cop
reminded me of the benefits of having a single entity that controls
crime, instead of multiple gangs waging war for turf and profit. The
fact that the PDRM is alleged to have facilitated this in the Copgate
affair, for example, is part of maintaining peace and stability in
volatile urban areas. There is an eco-system of patronage and corruption
which, unfortunately, also creates order (stability), if not justice.
to mention intelligence gathered from the relationship between
politicians and the criminal underworld, which sometimes contains
greater threats - foreign most often - to the greater Malaysian society. This, of course, is somewhat different now because the
politicians in charge are the former opposition. But you would have to
be naive to think that money and influence from powerful crime
syndicates is not part of this 'New Malaysia'.
With this in mind, this lament that public bodies are somehow punishing the PDRM is also a dog whistle for the ketuanan
game that is always in play. Non-Malays are constantly reminded that
public institutions are Malay institutions, especially during the long
Umon watch. Things do not change overnight. The Harapan government uses dog whistle politics as well, but it have to be careful because it has a sizable non-Malay base. So,
race, religion, crime and commerce are part of the state security
apparatus. You can bet your last ringgit that genuine reforms will be
hampered by various politicians in the guise of being "fair" to the
We are living in very treacherous times. When someone like
Khalid Samad talks about the possibility of a potential coup because
Malays are easily bamboozled by elements in the bureaucracy, we have to
take a good hard look at the police force. I would argue that besides
the economy, the first institution that really needs to be substantially
reformed is the PDRM.
I would go so far as to argue for some sort
of truth and reconciliation commission instead of outright criminal
investigations, because, as a just retired middle manager in the PDRM
told me, "God knows what you will discover when you pull that thread."