Reality Check for the AG and IGP
A Kadir Jasin
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HAVING served as a member of the Royal Commission To Enhance The Operation And Management Of The Royal Malaysian Police in 2004-2005, I would like very much to give the benefit of the doubt to the Inspector-General of Police and, by extension, to the Attorney General whenever they come under fire.
In the most recent development, both the police and the AG’s Chamber came under scrutiny for alleged sloppiness in investigating a murder case in Pahang, resulting in two accused being acquitted and discharged by the Kuantan High Court.
Despite my best efforts to be kind and considerate, I don’t think I can anymore extend that courtesy. This is the burden of knowledge and as well as responsibility on my part.
During the many public hearings and consultations with the police top brass, it became plainly clear to the Commission that there were widespread weaknesses and lack of professionalism in the area of investigation and prosecution.
The Commission heard stories of police brutality, high-handedness and disrespect for human rights which eventually led to many sensational cases, including murder, being thrown out by angry judges and the government sued by mistreated parties.
[UPDATE, AUG. 12
IN a damning indictment of the police force, the former IGP and senior member of the Royal Commission, Tun Haniff Omar, had described the police as the fence that eats the rice -- harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi -- in his Sunday Star column.]Realising this, the Commission devoted a considerable portion of its deliberation and report to making specific recommendations on enhancing investigation and promoting closer collaboration between the police and the AG’s Chamber when investigating serious criminal cases.
Had the government decided to adopt these recommendations, the investigative capacity and quality of investigation would have shown improvement. The Commission had set last year as the final phase for the implementation of improved investigation practices.
But judging from the ongoing Altantuya murder trial and the acquittal and discharge of the two accused persons by the Kuantan High Court on Aug. 6, the “sloppiness” continues despite claims to the contrary.
With the greatest of sadness I must say that I find the IGP’s Aug. 9 statement “blaming” officers for not acting against their errant subordinates as one of the causes for indiscipline as unacceptable. The Commission spent considerable time and efforts in addressing the disciplinary issue.
With due respect to all and sundry, I must say that the blaming game has been going on for far too long in the government service, including the police. Somebody must own up and take responsibility. If they point fingers too often, the time will come when they end up poking their own eyes.
The buck must stop somewhere – be it at the desk of the OCPD, the CPO, the IGP, the AG, the Minister and finally the Prime Minister.
The Government cannot justify its pledge of transparency and accountability, and fulfills it promise of improved delivery system if it allows it operatives to keep doing “the Samy Vellu” by blaming their shortcomings and faults on God, nature and other people.
In the case of the Altantuya murder trial, not only the fate of the three high-profiled accused is at stake. More importantly the reputation of the police, the AG’s Chamber and the Judiciary is also at stake.
Then there is this rather mind-boggling “advice” by Umno vice-president Muhyiddin Yassin to the opposition parties to stop fielding candidates in areas that they could not win. It's just a waste of the people's time and money, the Agriculture Industry Minister said.
Bernama reported him as saying that although it was their democratic right to contest any seat, fielding candidates in Barisan Nasional’s strongholds would be irresponsible and an abuse of the democratic process.
He said the opposition parties should field candidates with the aim of serving the people and not denying BN an easy win.
When I come across a convoluted, incomprehensible statement like this, I often give the benefit of the doubt to the speaker. Maybe he didn’t say it or that wasn’t the way he said it. He could have been the unfortunate victim of misreporting.
If taking part in election is the democratic right of the people, as Muhyiddin put it, why should he then be advising opposition parties not to contest in BN’s strongholds?
Are we participating in an election, either as candidates or voters, solely to win or are we participating because we want the people to have a choice?
Pardon me for saying that it’s a poorly thought-out statement like this that makes an increasing number of pembesar looks unintelligent. They fall into the same lowly league of those who called bloggers monkeys and goblok (stupid).
Why should Mahyuddin, whom I thought is way above average in thinking, want to discourage anybody from contesting against the BN?
I am sure the taxpayers are more than willing to pay for the contest than to deprive the voters of the right to choose. Spending money to safeguard democracy is certainly more important to them than paying hundreds of millions to buy a brand new private jet for the PM and other pembesar negeri.
I always consider “menang tanpa bertanding” (won uncontested) as a hollow victory. For the voters, not having a contest means not getting the projek segera (instant projects) and not enjoying the habuan (goodies) associated with elections.