On Monday, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar announced that the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) is to set up a new department, to be known as the Integrity and Standard Compliance Department, to improve Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) compliance, including disciplinary procedures for police personnel.
The new department is expected to be fully operational in two months and would be led by a director with the rank of commissioner.
Khalid said the setting up of the department has been approved in principle and the police are in the midst of discussing with the Public Services Department on the recruitment of staff.
He said that with the department in place, the police hoped to improve the SOP compliance in all aspects of assignment, including disciplinary procedures for police personnel. Prior to this, disciplinary matters and procedures for police personnel were managed by the Management Department.
The proposed new Integrity and Standard Compliance Department has been subjected to severe, valid and pertinent criticism by the chief of the anti-crime group, MyWatch, R. Sanjeevan, who said the new department would only result in overlapping duties and a further waste of public funds for the hiring of new staff or the promotion of existing officers, when what the PDRM needs is not a new department to check its officers on SOP compliance but a total revamp of its existing set-up to improve crime-fighting efforts.
Sanjeevan contends that all matters involving police integrity and procedure compliance can be handled by PDRM’s existing Management Department, which already handles disciplinary breaches.
As a result, the proposed new Integrity and Standard Compliance Department will only benefit a few people within the PDRM where they’ll be given promotions but end result remains zero.
I fully support Sanjeevan’s contention that it is the PDRM’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that needs the most attention as at present, only 18 per cent of the 112,583-strong police force is tasked to fight crime as CID officers.
A bulk of the police force ― over 50 per cent ― are desk-bound officers designated to doing office work like clerical and administrative duties, while 34 per cent are tasked to internal security and public order.
That is to say, for every 1 police officer in the CID fighting crime, there are about 5 police officers who are doing office work.
There can be no disagreement from the overwhemjing majority of Malaysians, for instance, that the top priority police must to fight crime and to maintain the peace and harmony in the country.
It is more useful and urgent, for instance, for IGP Khalid to form a special division to stamp out reckless incitement of racial and religious animosities and hatred to cause racial and religious disharmony and strife than to set up a department on SOP compliance.
One reason why Malaysia’s racial and religious peace and harmony has become a matter of grave concern is the failure of the police in the past nine months to carry out their priority duties to keep a firm check on reckless and irresponsible elements in the country seeking to undermine the fabric of Malaysian society through incessant incitement of racial and religious animosities, hatred, conflict and tension.
It has reached a stage where the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) has called on the authorities to “act swiftly” when dealing with racial and religious sensitive incidents, warning that inaction could lead to “serious consequences” and that rising religious tensions could eventually hamper efforts to promote national unity.
NUCC said: “The NUCC urges the government to uphold the rule of law and to actively promote national unity by taking prompt action against incendiary statements and actions which are provocative and can lead to conflict and tension with serious consequences affecting peace, harmony and national unity.”
One of the major government players which had abdicated its responsibility to “act swiftly” when dealing with racial and religious sensitive incidents resulting in the country faced with “serious consequences” is undoubtedly the police, headed by Khalid Abu Bakar as the IGP in the past nine months.
When will Khalid live up to his duties as IGP for all Malaysians and not just for UMNO or Barisan Nasional?