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Table in Parliament a Mid-Term 2-year Reform Report on every Ministry and department on progress achieved and future plans which will address the police grievance of being singled out and being discriminated against
Firstly, that such an important meeting was only reported by the Sun, “PM meets police top brass at Bukit Aman” and I hope that it will not develop into a test of the Prime Minister’s commitment to press freedom and the Malaysian citizenry’s right to information.
According to the Sun, present at the closed-door session were Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar, his deputy Datuk Seri Musa Hassan, and the directors of the Special Branch, Narcotics, CID, Logistics, Internal Security and Public Order, and Administration departments. Also present were all the state police chiefs and heads of several police officers' associations and unions.
Secondly, it highlights the police opposition and resistance to police reforms as recommended by the two Royal Police Commissions. Police opposition and resistance came to a head following the announcement by the Prime Minister on January 24 that the government had decided to set up the long-delayed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as an external oversight agency on police misconduct, corruption and criminality.
Thirdly, it reflects a failure of the police leadership to give full backing to the Prime Minister to implement the 133 recommendations of the two Royal Police Commissions.
Fourthly, the breaking of ranks of Cabinet Ministers in their support for the Prime Minister, with the Education Minister and UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein publicly lending support to the police opposition and resistance to the implementation of the Royal Police Commission recommendations, in particular, the establishment of the IPCMC.
Fifthly, the increasing chorus of mainstream “opinion makers” sympathetic to the police opposition and resistance to reform, expressing support that “it is unreasonable to expect the police to change overnight – no organization of its size and complexity can”, as well as questioning the bona fides of supporters of reform, not only politicians, the media, civil society but also the two Police Royal Commissions.
It is most shocking that Hishammudin has bought the argument of the three police organizations opposed to IPCMC that there are existing mechanisms for checks and balances in the police force – when the two Royal Police Commissions are the most powerful proof of the inadequacies of these “existing mechanisms”.
It is also most regrettable that Hishammuddin and UMNO Youth have come out in opposition to the IPCMC and the Royal Police Commission recommendations. What is the position of the youth wings of the other Barisan Nasional parties as well as other Cabinet Ministers? Are Cabinet Ministers only allowed to express opposition but not support for the IPCMC?
The Prime Minister must stand firm and not back down in his public commitment to implement the Royal Police Commission recommendations to create a clean, accountable, trustworthy, efficient, professional and world-class police service which respects and upholds human rights, or it will mark the end of Abdullah’s reform pledge and programme even before they have taken off the ground.
Abdullah should ensure that the enabling legislation for the setting up of IPCMC is presented to Parliament when it meets on March 13.
However, the feeling of grievance by the police that they are being singled out and discriminated against for far-reaching reforms should be addressed, for it would be most unfair to the police if this is the case.
The Prime Minister should present in Parliament next month a Mid-Term Two-Year Reform Report on every Ministry and department on the progress achieved and future plans for reforms.
This will show that the Abdullah premiership is serious about its reform pledge and programme as well as address the police grievance of being singled out and being discriminated against as the only government agency required to undergo far-reaching reforms.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission