Special Commission to Enhance Police Operations and Management an euphemism and misnomer and should more appropriately be altered to Royal Commission on Police Reforms for An Effective, Trustworthy and Professional World-Class Police Service

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaSunday): The 16-member Special Commission to Enhance Police Operations and Management headed by the former Chief Justice, Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah is both an euphemism and a misnomer and it  should more appropriately be altered  to Royal Commission on Police Reforms to provide an effective, trustworthy and professional world-class police service to the people. 

The biggest flaw of the six terms of reference of the Dzaiddin Police Commission is that they focus primarily on the police when equal importance should have been given not only from the standpoint of those delivering the service of security and protection, but from those reliant on it. 

This is self-evident from the Commissionís terms of reference, viz: 

  • To study the role and responsibility of the police in law enforcement;
  • To study the organizational structure of the force and distribution of human resources within the force;
  • The development of human resource capital, including training and facilities for members of the force;
  • To look at the ethics and work procedures of police personnel;
  • To investigate human rights related issues, including those involving women which come under the purview of the police; and
  • To propose ways to improve and modernize the police force.

There is no need for a royal commission to be set up just to enhance police operations and management practices, for such a task would be better and more professionally performed by management experts and consultants. 

A Royal Commission of Inquiry is warranted however when what must be addressed is not just the technical questions of enhancing police operations and management practices, but the substantive and  policy issues of how  to restore public confidence in the professionalism, effectiveness and trustworthiness of the police force to provide a world-class police service to defend and uphold the fundamental rights of Malaysians to be free from crime and the fear of crime! 

When the terms of reference of the Dzaiddin Police Commission avoided the important issues of the loss and the urgent need to restore public confidence in the police force, the double rise in crime rate and the fear of crime, and police abuses of power and corruption, the Malaysian public are entitled to ask  as to whether the Dzaiddin Commission would be able to have the widest and most comprehensive remit to inquire into all aspects which had impinged upon the publicís loss of confidence in the police as the custodian of a just law and order and the upholder of the Rukunegara objective of a democratic way of life in Malaysia. 

A few of the commissioners have expressed support for the DAP proposal  that the Dzaiddin commission should conduct its inquiry in public with full transparency  so as to fully involve the public and the civil society, although one wonders at the physical problems that would be faced with such a huge membership of 16 commissioners Ė probably making it one of the biggest if not the biggest royal inquiry commissions anywhere in the world  in terms of number of commissioners. 

The first thing the Dzaiddin Commission should do after its first meeting on Wednesday is to announce its modus operandi as to how it would conduct its proceedings and the main areas it would be focusing on Ė inviting public input and feedback for the Commissionís consideration before any final decisions are made.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman