Friday, August 22, 2008

Polis Raja Di Malaysia!

The Royal Malaysia Police was given the title, “Di Raja” by the King for their professionalism in fighting communist insurgency and in preserving peace within the country. It was a title the Police Force was entitled to and we should be proud of this. The country and the people in this county and aboard accorded much respect and pride in the Malaysian Police Force. Now things have changed. Instead of Polis Di Raja Malaysia, now it many addressed it as Polis Raja Di Malaysia! That is Police, is King in Malaysia!

I shall tell you why many people say so!

Before, I proceed, I need to say that being and ex-police officer and being having been part of the Force, I should not be seen to be very vocal criticizing the police and should keep my oath to be faithful and be with the Force in whatever situation the Force was facing, but, on the second thought, I see that as an ex-officer and politician, it is also my duty to see the all evils in the Force has to be corrected and where the demand for justice and transparency arises, to expose the weaknesses that the Force faced. This was in the hope that corrective action could be taken by the relevant authorities so that the Force, as trustee of the Nation and the public of our national security and public rights would improve in safeguarding our rights and Nation’s security.

I could not deny that when I was still in the Force, abuses among the police officers did happen, but, not so rampant and high handed as what had happened in the last ten years. The Police Force was still truly “Di Raja!” The abuses were still very much in control, but, to my humble observation, discipline in recent years among officers of almost all ranks deteriorated after a change of policy took place in recent years which allow officers to be promoted or be allowed advanced in rank after few years in service.

Instead, this bred a new Police Force, which could be called, “Polis Raja Di Malaysia” and this new bred police force had diluted the title “Polis Di Raja Malaysia”. Now, we could have inspectors be advanced to chief inspectors just after six years of service and within the next three to four years after such advancement, be promoted to Assistant Superintendent. Likewise, a constable could also get advancement to lance corporal within few years of service and in a short span of service be promoted to sergeant and so on. Many rose up so fast! With such speed in promotions, many could become big headed and acted like they were Rajas and Emperors because with more power at hand, they though they could do what they liked.

When I was still in the service, this did not happen as it took us 14 years to climb the ladder to reach chief inspector. I am not jealous of them being promoted fast, but, the fact that when rank came easy, many of them could not command themselves properly and could not carry their rank politely. Many of these young officers tend to loose respect of their more senior officers in the force, especially, when their seniors were stagnant or stuck with their rank. Many of these seniors did not have the chance to go up but was just waiting for retirement and many were found being “chased-up” by their juniors and found themselves on the same rank with their juniors.

Recently, I met an officer who was my colleague in the Force and while having coffee with him in Green Heights, he admitted that discipline among the young officers deteriorated and these young officers tend to show very little respect of their seniors, especially, to those who were on the same rank with them. This was not so in our time, because, although our seniors never got promoted, but, we still addressed them, “Tuan!”. This was a show of respect of which they also deserved. This is because as a saying says, “They eat more rice and salt than us!” So, there is no reason why we should show less respect to these senior officers although they were not promoted or were on the same rank with us. I was also told that the training of new recruits at this moment is not as tough as in our time and is very much relaxed. I was told by some instructors that these young officers have to be treated as Raja because the instructors fear that reprimand may befall on them once these instructors may one day come under the command of these new bred officers.

The sudden change of policies in the Force could also have affected the discipline of the young members of the Force. Now, police officers could enter the Court, no need to use caps and no need to salute the Court when they walked in. Where their respect to the Court lies? They are Raja and they see the Court not so much powerful than them and the Court could not give them instructions to wear the cap and to require them to salute the Court when they walked in because as far as the use of uniform is concerned the Court has no jurisdiction over the discipline of these police officers.

There seems also no need for present police officers to use their caps when in patrol cars and many could also be seen not wearing at all during road blocks and when on patrol. Many could easily be seen spent time in coffee shops when in uniforms. This was a marked difference from our time.

I also experience some rude incidence from these young officers. At one time, over a phone while trying to help a brother of a retired senior police officer of a case against him, and despite my politeness, I even had rude remarks, from a young officer whom I found out had just been discharged from the training school some months ago. This officer even questioned my right to seek clarification from him of the case, a thing we usually never did when I was still in the Force.

About the “squat” incident of a woman during a body search in which was also highlighted in the national press, a very senior officer even said that it was a police procedure to order suspects to do the “squat exercise” in search of dangerous drugs. I never heard of this training before! This shows that the police became Raja over the people and no more Polis Di Raja Malaysia!

Two weeks ago, clients of mine were on road show remand and for the first three remand, all ended in being released by the court unconditionally. I came in for the third remand. They were supposed to be remanded for the fourth time in a row, but, when they knew that I was sitting at the counter waiting for the remand application to be registered, the police officers who wanted to remand these clients, waited for more than an hour for me to leave the counter. They discovered that I did not leave and after they could not wait anymore, they had no choice, but to bring my clients back to police stations and released them.

Was not this an abuse of power and an abuse of the processes of the court? Maybe they thought they could be Raja all the time and bypassed counsels all the time when registering the remand. To these police officers who are Raja, beware, as you can’t clothe your power all the time with power of the court because if your abuse of power and unlawful acts could be proved, you could not hide behind the remand and to scott free from possible damages and suits against you in court. Mind you, the court has always been jealous in guarding the liberty of citizens!

This morning to my shock when in the Borneo Post, it was reported that a police officer whom I was told with about only ten years in service even became more daring to show that he was the Raja, by chasing a woman driver, stopped and battered her with the butt of a service revolver. The woman bled profusely.

Now, stop trying to project yourself as Raja, but, keep the flag of “Polis Di Raja Malaysia” high and be proud for the nation, for the people and for your future generations. Being custodians of the Nation's security and custodian of the people's trust, you must be subjected to the command of the King at all times, and you must understand that by the command of the King, the King is Raja over the Police Force, and not the other way round, where you thought you can treat the King's subjects as you like, in which, you should not.

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