Police Royal Commission of Inquiry should issue its first interim report to create a world-class police force which could be the subject of parliamentary debate next week
by Lim Kit Siang
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must be commended for giving the go-ahead to the Royal
Commission on the Police Force to start putting its ideas into action
immediately and making it clear that the commission need not wait to
complete its findings or for the Government's approval before acting on
improving the police force.
It is imperative that the Police Royal Commission should act with a sense of urgency on Abdullah’s signal as the country cannot afford inordinate delays to start reforming the police force to deliver to Malaysians their fundamental right to security and protection from crime.
It is more than three months since the establishment of the 16-member Police Royal Commission and the euphoria and high expectations from the Malaysian public that it would lead to the restoration of 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 have suffered serious erosion.
The dissipation of public confidence in the Police Royal Commission is evident from the poor public response when it conducted hearings in various parts of the country, with only two persons appearing in Kuching and three complaints in Kota Kinabalu last month!
Is the Commision’s problem purely one of miscommunication or poor P.R. or is it something more basic and fundamental – the gnawing and spreading lack of public confidence in the Royal Commission because of its composition, terms of reference and modus operandi.
For instance, although the Royal Police Commission had initially undertaken to conduct its proceedings in a public, open and transparent manner, it has not kept its word – as there is no public hearing of the process of representation by members of the public to the Commission, only the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Royal Commission talking to the press before each session.
Although the Police Royal Commission was given a year to submit a complete report and six months to report its preliminary findings, there is no reason why it could not be guided by the urgency of the matter and issue its first interim report to create a world-class police force which could be the subject of parliamentary debate next week.
The Police Royal Commission, for instance, should be able to make preliminary recommendations as to how to ensure a more multi-racial representation in the police force.
It has been reported that in the current police recruitment exercise in Kuala Lumpur, there was only one Chinese out of 160 applicants on Saturday and none out of the 76 applicants yesterday.
Over the weekend, the Police announced that there had been 5,491 applications for the post of cadet Assistant Superintendents and 7,975 for inspectors in the January recruitment exercise. Of the number, 1,000 applicants for cadet ASPs, including 100 women, and 2,160 for inspectors, including 274 women, were shortlisted to attend the assessment tests held in three phases. Only those who pass the assessment tests will be interviewed in July to fill the 60 posts for cadet ASPs and 400 for inspectors.
The Police Royal Commission should ask the police for the racial breakdown of the 3,160 applicants short-listed and to make them public in the search for a solution to ensure a multi-racial police force.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor