PDRM: A tale of the tail wagging the dog

By Tunku Abdul Aziz | The Malaysian Insider

MAY 25 — The only reasonable conclusion I can draw as a reasonable man from the PDRM raid on the DAP headquarters last Saturday evening is that the police leadership need their heads examined for signs of mental degeneration.

It was Euripides (480–406 BC) the Greek playwright who said, “Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad.” Police behaviour in recent times has convinced me more than ever that there is something rotten in the state of our country, with apologies to William Shakespeare.

The beleaguered police, as far as we are concerned, are in moral retreat. It beggars the imagination that with all the relentless assault on their reputation, they do not seem to care one iota about public opinion.

This is frightening self-indulgence. To be deaf to public strictures is really a symptom of a deep malaise associated with a diseased culture of impunity that has brutalised the police psyche.

For the guardians of the law to show nothing but utter contempt, disregard and disdain for the legitimate concerns about their actions, often bordering on the criminal, is indeed a serious breach of stewardship and public trust, the antithesis of ethical policing in a democratic society.

I plead guilty to being one of the harshest critics of the police. I am hard on them because I so desperately want them to succeed. At the same time, I can claim to be their admirer when they not only operate within the law, but, more to the point, when they are seen to be both law-abiding and respectful of the rights of every individual under the law.

I want a police service that is among the best that I can be proud of, and not “the best police force in the world that money can buy.”

As a keen observer of the police in action, I can say without fear of contradiction that the standards of policing took a dramatic fall from grace when the greatest-ever Malaysian IGP, Tun Hanif Omar, stepped down.

Hanif was not only a thoroughly competent officer but an ethical one, and, therefore, was able to withstand political pressure, even from Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister of the day whose meddling ways were directly responsible for the dismemberment of many of the country’s most important institutions.

Hanif could stand up to the bully because of his strong personal values: he offered to resign on at least two occasions. His letters of resignation were turned down. As with all bullies, you cannot back down or they will climb on your head.

Sadly, subsequent IGPs, with the exception of Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar, have, by common consent, been a great disappointment and a disgrace to the uniform.

I have, in keeping with the times, been referring to PDRM as a police service in previous speeches and writings in order to help soften its image. On reflection, I may have been a trifle premature because PDRM is obviously not yet ready to be accorded that designation: it still has a lot of house cleaning to do before it can join the ranks of the police in other parts of the civilized world where accountability is the foundation of ethical policing.

PDRM must perforce remain a police force that carries with it all the unsavoury connotations of an organisation that has lost its way. With proper leadership, and the necessary political will, PDRM can still find salvation.

It is a great pity because there are thousands upon thousands of honest to goodness people whom we admire, trying very hard to do an honest day’s work to serve the nation, and we salute them for their courage, loyalty and devotion to duty. They are, however, badly officered which leads me to my favourite conclusion that there are no bad policemen and women, only bad officers.

The rot started when ethically deficient, unprofessional officers allowed, without a murmur, the politicisation of the force by Mahathir who used it as a handy tool to manipulate the system in order to advance his own political ambitions.

In return, many people believed, rightly or wrongly, that senior officers were given protection against possible prosecution for corruption. A very senior ACA officer, himself not above a bit on the side, now mercifully, in comfortable, contented retirement, claimed in private that he could have put at least 20 corrupt top police officers behind bars without too much trouble, but could not for reasons best known to himself.

As long as we allow the police to dictate terms to us, in particular over the implementation of the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission), the highlight of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation & Management of the Royal Malaysia Police’s report, we will always be subject to police excesses.

It is a sad commentary that both Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak have seen nothing wrong with the police insubordination of threatening dire repercussions if this important recommendation for the good of both the citizens and the police in a new, open society is “forced” upon them.

The police, many feel, have got too big for their boots. Has the “People’s Prime Minister” the interests of the people at heart? Given the state of affairs in our country today, may we humbly urge Najib to keep the police on a short leash, and not allow the tail to wag the dog.

  1. #1 by ekans on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 1:51 pm

    Q: Why does the dog wag its tail?

    A: Because the dog is smarter than the tail. If the tail was smarter than the dog, it would then wag the dog

  2. #2 by frankyapp on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 2:46 pm

    Who’s the dog and who’s the tail in this tale ?.All police officers are “yes boss ” or “yeap tuan” in their daily routine.I would not blame any of those guys and who would when you know they have to obey orders from the IGP.The IGP, can we purely put the blame on him ?, I think not as we know who gives him his job unless he prepares to lose his job. My opinion is “the dog” who has the brain which controls the “the tail “.Hence guys,you should know who’s the dog and who’s the tail in this tale.

  3. #3 by Loh on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 2:57 pm

    ///This is frightening self-indulgence. To be deaf to public strictures is really a symptom of a deep malaise associated with a diseased culture of impunity that has brutalised the police psyche.///– Tunku Abdul Aziz

    The police are supposed to be public servant. They don’t behave like one. The might not even be totally subservient to their political master. They are themselves political principals and they want the corrupt system to continue. Thus, the police would act on its own to protect the powers-that-be so that status quo remains.

    When government servants take their position as an enterprise rather than a duty and responsibility to serve in return for what the taxpayers keep them in comfort that is how police state comes about. That is the evil of corruption, and made worse through racism.

    ///Hanif was not only a thoroughly competent officer but an ethical one, and, therefore, was able to withstand political pressure, even from Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister of the day whose meddling ways were directly responsible for the dismemberment of many of the country’s most important institutions.///– Tunku Abdul Aziz

    I lack the vocabulary to describe how bad he is to the nation, and what a liability his grandfather has brought from India to this adopted land of his. TDM made corruption legal for his friends and charged his enemy of sodomy. He blamed May 13 on Tunku where we now know conclusively from Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad that had Razak not allowed Harun to organize event which Razak’s phone call to stop Haruns’s plan was half an hour too late, May 13 would not have happened. TDM had a hand in the formulation of NEP which is a curse to the nation since 1969, and he used it to make Malays, mainly mamaks, multimillionaires through APs scheme and other contracts. He caused the Malay community to rely on government contracts, and thus weakened their entrepreneurships as real traders in providing goods and services. The leakage of government funds through corruption, where government non-tender award of government project dominates deprived Malaysians of the right to enjoy services the government resources could have purchased.

    TDM’s greatest sin is his destruction of the government institutions which provide the foundation of civil living, security of life and an environment conducive for social economic development. Curse the colonist for all we want, but the system of government that Malaysia inherited took centuries to mature, and that was the source of our comparative advantage compared to other nations. TDM destroyed them all in his 22 years. He won’t allow his successor to move away from the ruinous path he had created.

    All told, TDM is the greatest curse God has given Malaysia.

  4. #4 by ekin on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 2:58 pm

    I remembered there’s a song titled “Who let the dog out?”

    In this case, the dogs are out and bitting everyone sitting down Fasting. Run! If not you’ll be bitten by the dogs!

    Remember a few years ago there was a case about a granny bitten by a Rod Wailer? I see a similar incident in this Fasting campaign.

    Peaceful Fasters = Granny
    Police Forces = Rod Wailer

    Imagine how the dog tears the granny into pieces and that’s what the police force is doing to the peaceful fasters…

  5. #5 by k1980 on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 3:18 pm

    A dangerous precedent has been set. Everone can play at this game.

    During an elections campaign, a candidate who has not chance of getting back his/her deposit, suddenly asks the MACC and EC to probe his/her allegations of his/her opponent (the one with the most chance of winning) offering money and positions of power to him/her once he/she withdraws.

    What if the MACC/EC/judiciary supports that losing candidate’s claim of bribery? Will the winning candidate be forced to vacate the seat to that losing candidate?

  6. #6 by wanderer on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 4:58 pm

    These are ROYAL MAT MATA….sadly, the word Royal carries little value and esteem to the police force.
    In addition to the already undignified force, we have a mongrel gomen, equally with people of no integrity and honesty.
    Malaysia boleh….it may take another half a century…only, if these scumbags are removed from govt and thrown into the tong sampah!

  7. #7 by SpeakUp on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 5:52 pm

    This is well planned okay … they use the darn illegal gathering as an excuse to raid the DAP office. The IF … IF by chance there was some say porn or seditious email in the PC its called JACKPOT!!!

    This is how it works … simple as that. Also, it causes inconvenience and it harassment too.

  8. #8 by ling138 on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 6:11 pm

    YB Kit, please take note of my comment.
    I’m from Sitiawan, Perak. I found out that a MCA branch chairman who is also a teacher in SMK Nan Hwa has a son who got JPA scholarship after appealing through the Putrajaya MOE, though his result is not very good. I believe some money have been involve in this so-called “successful” JPA scholar. I’m also sadden when some students who got better result than him was rejected of the scholarship. I hope YB can do something about this. Thanks.

    Continue to fight for Malaysians.

  9. #9 by Ramesh Laxman on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 7:11 pm

    Once again I appeal to those in power to strengthen the institutions of governemt and not to emasculate it.

  10. #10 by YK Leong on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 10:04 pm

    Look and see. The Inspector General of Head Hunters is now enlisting the help of Interpol to hunt down RPK. When Bala went missing, no head hunters bother to do anything about Bala. Why?

    I don’t have to tell you, you should know all this and that.

    Brother Kit Siang, when did Parliament passed the law that FASTING is an offence?

  11. #11 by negarawan on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 10:09 pm

    Let’s be impartial. There are still some good police officers. The main problem is the corrupt, incapable, and poor leadership of the PDRM. Only by PR taking over Malaysia can this rot be removed for good, not only in PDRM but also in the judiciary, EC, and many other institutions. As long as UMNO is in power, matters will get worse.

  12. #12 by cemerlang on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 10:15 pm

    Whu signed the warrant of search ? As a disciplined force, the PDRM has to carry out orders without any question asked or else they would be guilty of insubordinasion. Sadly, this force is known for more bed things than good. If the PDRM is taking the laws into their own hands, then there is no discipline and when there is no disiplin and people do not respect them, the country would be thrown into chaos.

  13. #13 by ekans on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 11:22 pm

    Earlier this month, NST published an interview with a Professor Rozmi Ismail, the head of psychology at the School of Psychology and Human Development at UKM who has been researching the Mat Rempit phenomenon, and a Madam Kattryn Eng, mother to a 23-year-old deaf and mute woman who was attacked by around 20 Mat Rempit at a petrol station in Subang Jaya one morning.

    This interview can be seen online at http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Saturday/National/2552199/Article/index_html

    The following is an interesting excerpt from the interview…

    Rozmi: Yes, 20 years ago Mat Rempit did not exist. There were pelumba haram, who only raced in the rural areas like Felda. Just 10 or 20 of them and they did not disturb the public. Nowadays however, because of their sheer size, they can become very aggressive.

    Kattryn: It is surprising, those numbers. It makes me just more fearful.

    Rozmi: Police are also scared. When I was conducting my studies I was with them, in Ipoh, where thousands of Mat Rempit had gathered. It was a public holiday. They came from everywhere! That night the police planned to have a roadblock but nobody actually wanted to go! They were scared. It meant that these Mat Rempits were very aggressive.

    Kattryn: So you see, if even the police are frightened, then they will just be kings of the streets, right? They will say: “Wah, the police are frightened of us”, and this will just give them more encouragement.


    It can be seen here that there was at least a time in Ipoh itself, the police were too scared to conduct an operation against a large number of Mat Rempits, who are the actual menace to our society, but today, in the very same city of Ipoh, they were brave enough to act without provocation against elected Pakatan Rakyat politicians who just want to fast in a peaceful hunger strike for democracy…

  14. #14 by johnnypok on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 11:27 pm

    Scare tactics is no longer effective when dealing with modern society, especially the tough-minded Perakians. NTR’s reputation will soon erode to zero and BN/UMNO will lose the psychological war even before the next GE.
    Long Live Perakians!

  15. #15 by monsterball on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 11:38 pm

    Yes Hanif Omar was the most educated. A lawyer himself and the best…fearless and humane too.
    Talk to him…and you will learn alot about Police.
    No police force dares to try funny with Gentng Highland….with him there.
    He still commands huge respects.
    Wife and him…both very humble….never wanted to be treated special …waiting to be admitted in to hospital..for regular examinations..which they told me….is their second home.
    Since Mahathir’s time…it is not how good or how qualified you are to be IGP. It is how loyal and how much you can do for UMNO…with no second thought allowed…just act as commanded by PM.
    UMNO chooses a small team of such people…the force are lead to become what we sees them to be.
    Do not blame those taking commands from their commanders.
    To solve it…change government….change the commanders…and you have overnight success. Till then……live with it.
    UMNO does not care how the world judge us..yet they are great judges of others….without shame at all.
    It has gone to the extreme.
    UMNO is finished.
    In name….still governing. I truths…Malaysians hope 13th GE…is today.

  16. #16 by HJ Angus on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 - 12:14 am

    I agree that the government NEEDS to be changed before we see any improvement to the PDRM for by capitulating to the demands of some police officers, the BN government has lost all credibilty to govern.
    Now the PDRM appears to be just the enforcers of the BN leadership and not enforcing the law without fear or favour.

  17. #17 by Ramesh Laxman on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 - 9:13 am

    The dog is a reflection of its master.

  18. #18 by i_love_malaysia on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 - 11:56 am

    The root cause of the problem was PDRM is staffed by incompetent and easy to bribe officers!!! These incompetent officers were selected to join PDRM as a result of their skin colour rather than purely based on competency!!! They are very good in polishing the shoes of their bosses rather than overcome high crime rates as they lack the capability and capacity!!! In order to keep their job so that they can continue to makan puas puas, they will do what their masters ask them to. Now, they are much more happy than before, because they have kerismudin as their patron saint!!! Who will not hesitate to draw keris or any other weapons to settle any issue without using his brain first!!! What do you expect something good from PDRM with such type of person as their big boss???

  19. #19 by ekin on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 - 2:51 pm

    Mr Cemerlang,

    “Whu signed the warrant of search ? As a disciplined force, the PDRM has to carry out orders without any question asked or else they would be guilty of insubordinasion. Sadly, this force is known for more bed things than good. If the PDRM is taking the laws into their own hands, then there is no discipline and when there is no disiplin and people do not respect them, the country would be thrown into chaos.”

    First of all, no warrant presented. By orders or not, procedures must be followed. No warrant, No raid. Even in pubs or discos they came with a search warrant, why not this time? There’s only one possible reason. The Head wanted some disturbances for DAP to keep them busy and to induce fear. Note :- The Policemen didn’t even know under what section nor why aren’t there any warrant presented. They had to call their PSD in order to explain the “why” reasons to Mr Gobind. Seriously, it has gone out of hand and things becoming worst because the Head misuses such powers..What a SHAME!

  20. #20 by strupper2003 on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 - 7:33 pm

    PDRM is so discredited they are now seen as BN’s bodyguards.

    They treat the people as their enemy and arrest people for wearing black, holding candles, or even drinking teh tarik.

    Soon, Malaysians will be arrested for merely breathing.

  21. #21 by blablowbla on Thursday, 28 May 2009 - 8:31 am

    Polis DiRaja M’sia.

    the word DiRaja is there.

    very funny,one of the most important Sultan’s mandate is to protect the Rakyat,very frequent they are mentioning that,but your highness team (DiRaja) is bullying the Rakyat now,is the Sultan criticizing his ‘macai’ of tarnishing his reputation n royal’s image???

    very very funny!

  22. #22 by ekin on Thursday, 28 May 2009 - 2:08 pm

    Remember what does the policeman said when 11 of the raided DAP Head Quarter? “Hey, this is my play, not yours!”

    So that means Sultan have no say. BN UMNO PDRM at play, so Sultan, PR, Rakyat? Better shut up…

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