The IGP's percipient Hari Raya rejoinder - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Malaysiakini : "So I believe my men are good. Basically, they are good men, so we
have to set a good example from the top. I will set a good example from
the top.” - Abdul Hamid Bador
| While the top cop of the country may not have meant for his rejoinder
to the district chiefs to cease their unethical behaviour as a Hari
Raya message, we should take it as one, because of all the public
institutions in this country, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) have not
had someone like Bador steering the ship.
One of the aspects of
toppling the Najib regime that has shown signs of progress is the way
Harapan has been handling the state security apparatus, specifically the
PDRM. It has been a messy process and there have been missteps,
but overall, Malaysians can be cautiously optimistic that some sort of
reform is underway in PDRM. The appointment of Abdul Hamid Bador as the
top cop of the country and his support of the government’s initiatives
to reform this most vital of public institutions is evidence that in
some areas a Malaysia Baru is slowly emerging.
While the upper
echelons of the police bureaucracy, no doubt aided and abetted by their
political cohorts, have been resistant to the IPCMC, Hamid has taken the
initiative to accept it and to educate the police force on the benefits
of having this independent commission.
From what I gather
from police personnel who support this initiative, Hamid understands
that this is also a safety net for those “good cops” when it comes to
the culture of corruption, which he acknowledges exists in the PDRM. His
latest stern rejoinder to district chiefs on collecting “funds”
supposedly for Hari Raya celebrations and his contempt of those who
would use religion – “What is more despicable, there are those who
collect the funds claiming it would be forwarded to the asnaf (those eligible for zakat or tithe)” – is a clear indication that Hamid truly wants to curtail corruption in the police force.
has been candid about the repercussion by the Najib regime of his
attempts to investigate 1MDB and SRC scandals, going so far as to
acknowledge his role in thwarting a key witness in the SRC trial against
Najib, and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil's attempt to escape with the aid of “kuasa-kuasa tertentu."
These “kuasa-kuasa tertentu”
are a clear and present danger to the reform efforts of the PDRM. I am
not talking about Umno only, but also the entrenched interests that
predate the historic May 9 Harapan win. Anyone who tells you that it was
solely Umno/BN who were in cahoots with rogue elements in the PDRM is
If you wish to understand the nexus between the state,
security apparatus and corruption, you should read the letter by
Tenaganita’s Joseph Paul Maliamauv about foreign labour, or read the reportage about the RCI on Wang Kelain. What
I like about Hamid is that he is forthright in his description of the
culture of corruption that has taken root in the state security
apparatus. He acknowledges that this culture is perpetrated by senior
police officers who corral younger officers to doing their bidding.
There are “good cops” in the system, but what happens is they are tuned
by senior cops, who have carved out the state security apparatus into
petty fiefdoms aligned with politicians for mutual benefit.
is a very important point. Young cops, for various reasons, engage in
corrupt practices, but the commonality is that they are led into it.
They are fearful that the system is watching them because they are told
that the chain of command is unforgiving to those who betray their
seniors. They understand, very early on, that there is very little oversight either from the political apparatus or the police bureaucracy. So
they play the game and hope to advance sufficiently until they get into
a position where their financial livelihood is secure.
There is a
reason why Hamid reminded cops on Raya leave to celebrate with their
families and visit the graves of their relatives, instead of hanging out
with senior cops. He understated that this culture is based on
camaraderie and corruption. Hamid correctly points out the nexus
between the state security apparatus and gambling syndicates. What he
leaves out is the political nexus. This does not mean the state security
apparatus should not crack down on corrupt politicians, but the first
step is admitting that the state security apparatus has a problem.
Meanwhile, on the political side, recent comments by Lim Kit Siang (above)
about increasing the housing allowance of the police officers and men
in Johor Bahru and other major cities is a welcome departure from his
usual petty sniping at former prime minister Najib Tun Razak.
there have been the usual racist remarks about the grand old man of
politics in the far right media, I have received hundreds of emails and
texts from police officers, still serving and retired, who are thankful
Kit Siang raised this issue. While Hamid may have also raised this
issue, the perception is that the political apparatus is indifferent to
the needs of the rank and file of the police force because for years
they were the opposition.
Kit Siang paying a visit to a police
headquarters and speaking on the need for an increase of housing
allowance is something that most in the rank and file can relate to.
There is this idea that the DAP is antagonistic to the police force,
because of the propaganda efforts by the former regime and the far
right. The police personnel who I talked to were impressed that an
“important” politician like Lim Kit Siang was speaking on their behalf.
is what reforming the state security apparatus must include - the
acknowledgement that the political apparatus has been derelict in its
obligations in creating a functional state security apparatus, which
includes the welfare of the people in these services. Hamid has
been cautious when issuing statements and when he does, it always seems
to include nuggets of information on how the state security apparatus
works or the real problems facing this country. This is a good start for
an organisation that has been mired in political meddling and systemic
There is a reason to be cautiously optimistic, and
only time will tell if Hamid can tame the beast that is the state
To all state security personnel and essential
services personnel who are on duty, thank you for your service and to
all Malaysians celebrating, have a reflective Hari Raya.