Patch-up between Dzaiddin and Mohd Sedek after contretemps does not address
the issue of rampant corruption in the police force and how it could be
among the cleanest and most incorruptible government department in the
country if not among the cleanest and most incorruptible police force in
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): There is a patch-up between the Chairman of the Royal Police Commission, Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah and the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Datuk Seri Mohd Sedek Mohd Ali after their public contretemps, where the latter had accused the former of making “a sweeping statement” when alleging that the commission’s feedback from 26 public inquiries across the country and meetings with non-government organizations is that corruption exists at every level of the police force.
Dzaiddin and Mohd Sedek have made up their public differences, with soothing statements to that effect by both yesterday. But one must look deeper. Although the Deputy Inspector-General of Police claimed that he was misquoted by Mingguan Malaysia in its front-page headline report “Jangan tumpu rasuah – lapuran suruhanjaya dikhuatiri jejas keseluruhan imej polis” (15.8.04) and that he had never questioned the authority of the Royal Police Commission, it is clear and significant that Mohd Sedek had stood by his statement that “besides revealing weaknesses in the force the Commission should also suggest solutions to overcome the problems”. (NST 17.8.04)
Mohd Sedek also did not retract his statement on Saturday, viz:
This is the nub of the issue and controversy, whether there is rampant corruption in the police force, or as stated by Dzaiddin after presenting the commission interim report to the Yang di Pertuan Agong that corruption exists at every level of the police force, and in particular in six areas, the commercial crimes division, narcotics department, logistics department, anti-vice, gambling and secret societies division and traffic police.
Who is right – the Royal Police Commission or the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, who believes that complaints about corruption is only one in a thousand or an infinitesimal 0.1 per cent, which would qualify the Malaysian Police to lay claim to be among the cleanest, non-corrupt and incorruptible police force in the world, if not as the world’s No. 1!
If Malaysia has a police force which is among the cleanest, non-corrupt and incorruptible police force in the world as suggested by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, then Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index would not have fallen so precipitously from 23rd place in 1995 to 37th place in 2003.
That there is rampant corruption in the police force, and that it occupies a top-ranking position among all government departments and agencies for corruption, is not open to much dispute. In 1997, for instance, the police tops the list of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA)’s “Top Ten” government departments and agencies most prone to corruption.
This ranking was based on a five-year survey of government agencies and departments investigated for corrupt practices by the ACA, with the police heading the list, followed by local authorities, including district and municipal councils; land offices; education ministry/department; the road transport department; public works department; customs and excise department; forestry department; defense ministry/armed forces and health ministry/department.
Has the ACA done a latest update of its list of “Top Ten” government departments and agencies most prone to corruption based on the number of ACA investigations in the past five years – although nobody expects the leading position of the police to be challenged?
In fact, the police was again ranked as the most corrupt of all government agencies in a corruption survey conducted jointly by the Malaysian Institute of Management and the Kuala Lumpur Society for Transparency and Integrity in Selayang involving 1,000 residents in 2002.
In the survey, the police were deemed “highly corrupt” by 59.5 per cent of the respondents, while the Road Transport Department came a distant second (19.6 per cent), followed by municipal council (7.3 per cent), land office (5.5 per cent), judicial office (1.1 per cent), health department (0.7 per cent), environment department (0.4 per cent) and fire department (0.3 per cent).
What Malaysians find most disappointing is the lack of a commensurate response from the government to the serious finding by the Royal Police Commission that corruption permeates every level of the police force, although the nation was promised an all-out war against corruption in the recent general election.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in response to the Deputy IGP’s comments that the commission interim report was not comprehensive and not focused on ways to improve the police image, said that the report by the Royal Police Commission that corruption existed at all levels of the force was only a preliminary report, and that the commission’s subsequent reports will be on how work procedures in the police force can be improved further.
Singularly lacking is the vision, mission and fire to eradicate corruption in the police force and the anger and outrage at the finding that corruption existed at every level of the force – as if he would only surprised if the commission had come to any other conclusion.
It is sad and shocking that the problem of rampant corruption in the police force has been reduced to the mundane one of “work procedures” when it should be the main thrust and centrepiece of a nation-wide campaign to eradicate corruption and enhance national integrity in the country.
The comment by the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Nor Omar that the commission interim report was a balanced one, and that it was just that certain issues were highlighted by the media, is most incomprehensible and irresponsible especially when the commission interim report had never been made public, whether to the media or the Malaysian citizenry.
Abdullah should not delay any further and must take the decision to make public the Royal Police Commission Interim Report to allow Malaysians to decide for themselves whether Malaysia has the cleanest, non-corrupt and incorruptible police force as suggested by the Deputy IGP or whether to agree that corruption permeates every level of the police force!
The Cabinet, Parliament and the country must take serious note that the patch-up between Dzaiddin and Mohd Sedek after their public contretemps does not address the issue of rampant corruption in the police force and how it could be among the cleanest and most incorruptible government department in the country if not among the cleanest and most incorruptible police force in the world – which is why the issue of rampant corruption in the police force should be a top agenda in the Cabinet meeting tomorrow and for Parliament when it reconvenes on Sept. 1.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman