How Can We Have Faith in the IGP?

By Kee Thuan Chye
July 1, 2013

In street parlance, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is in deep shit.

Khalid Abu Bakar has been singled out by the judge who gave his verdict on the civil suit brought by A. Kugan’s family against him, the police force and the Government as having not told the truth about how Kugan died while in police custody four years ago.

Khalid was then Selangor police chief. In his first statement to the media at the time, he said Kugan collapsed and died after drinking water. In a subsequent statement, he said Kugan died of water in the lungs.

When an independent post-mortem initiated by human rights lawyer N. Surendran found that Kugan had suffered 45 external injuries and a wide range of internal injuries due to severe beatings, leading to his death from acute renal failure, Khalid did not clarify why its findings contradicted glaringly what he had said to the media.

Senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad, in the civil suit hearing, agreed with the judge that Khalid should have held a press conference to clarify the matter. “Only God knows (why this was not done),” Azizan is reported to have also said.

Indeed. There is a world of difference between dying of injuries sustained from being beaten and dying of water in the lungs.

At the hearing, Khalid testified that there was no cover-up in the investigations into Kugan’s death, and he denied all the allegations against himself, the police force and the Government over what had happened to Kugan.

However, judge V. T. Singham said in his ruling that there is sufficient evidence against Khalid for misfeasance as a public officer. He said with absolute certainty, “No person in any position or rank, when testifying in court, should take this court for granted and attempt to suppress the truth to escape liability.”

He also said, “The lies are not in the core print of the statutes book but in the integrity of the police officer, whatever his rank.”

The import of these words is serious. They call into question the credibility and integrity of the country’s highest-ranking police officer. How much faith can the Malaysian public now have in Khalid Abu Bakar?

What will the government that appointed him to this high position do now? Should it ignore the judge’s comments and continue with business as usual? Let’s use an analogy. If, say, the head of a key department of a company were declared by a court of law to have committed a breach of trust, what should the CEO of the company do?

It already reflects badly on the Government for having selected someone who had some baggage to a position that demands the highest integrity of its occupant. The Kugan case is, after all, no small matter. It is a contentious case that has been hogging media attention for a long time.

Furthermore, in the case of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the 14-year-old schoolboy who was killed after having been shot 21 times by police in 2010, a police report was lodged by the boy’s parents against Khalid alleging a cover-up. Khalid has denied the allegation and also the claim that he had called the boy a criminal, but the subsequent public perception of him has been negative. It doesn’t help any police officer’s reputation to be confronted with cover-up allegations twice.

Besides, last April, the boy’s family took out a lawsuit against the police and the Government, naming Khalid as one of the subsequent defendants. And to cap it all, under his current watch as IGP, two other men – N. Dharmendran and P. Karuna Nithi – have recently died while being held in police custody.

How now can the public have faith not only in the IGP, but also the police and the Government?

More than ever, the Government needs to set up an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry of 2005, to bring about police reform and keep watch on the conduct of police officers. Judge Singham himself categorically says there is an urgent need for this. Most Malaysians would agree.

And yet Home Minister Zahid Hamidi is saying that the IPCMC would overlap with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and contradict the Extra Territorial Offences Act 1976 and Section 127a of the Criminal Procedure Code.

This is mere pussyfooting. The IPCMC would be specifically looking at complaints against the police. If it could encroach on the territory of the MACC, which is tasked with probing corruption, it would be in taking on complaints against corrupt police officers. If this be the case, a provision could surely be made to relieve the MACC of tackling police corruption and channelling this to the IPCMC instead. In fact, this might make the handling of police corruption more efficient.

As for the other existing legal provisions, the Government is surely aware that it is capable of working things out to circumvent this problem.

Zahid’s insistence that the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) that was set up instead of the IPCMC would be enough to do the job is ridiculous when the CEO of the EAIC, Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar, has recently disclosed that the Commission has only one investigating officer probing complaints against the police, and its recommendations on action to be taken against errant cops so far may not even have been implemented.

The real question we need to ask is, does the Government care enough to want to bring about police reform? Does it care enough to ensure that citizens will be safe in police hands?

The lip service that the Government pays to this issue is supposed to give the impression that it cares. But the problem is, truth coming from the halls of power these last few years has been in such short supply that we can’t seem to trust whatever the Government says or does.

At this rate, unless the Government proves it is worthy of trust, we the rakyat may be the ones who’ll be heading for deep shit.

* Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the bestselling book No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians, and the latest volume, Ask for No Bullshit, Get Some More!

  1. #1 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Monday, 1 July 2013 - 7:04 pm

    sipenipu,di dunia kamu lepas diakhirat kamu akan terima balasan dariNya.taubat kamu nescaya tidak akan diterima

  2. #2 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Monday, 1 July 2013 - 7:11 pm

    polis didahulukan rakyat merana inilah motto baru PDRM…yang tugas utamanya jaga buntut umnobaru

  3. #3 by tuahpekkong on Monday, 1 July 2013 - 9:19 pm

    After he had been accused of malfeasance by a senior judge, he has lost all his credibility and his position as the country’s most senior police officer has become untenable. Who accused the poor boy of keeping an offensive weapon in his car?

  4. #4 by rjbeee on Monday, 1 July 2013 - 11:19 pm

    You don’t only have this type of mud Heads in the police, but you see plenty of them in local council , civil service and many more.Every year want increament but lazy to work..The country owns them a living..The subsidy mentality has set in what to expect..Must give 10% discount for eveything while other have to work for it….Well the mamak tongkang did all this…

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Monday, 1 July 2013 - 11:53 pm

    To many people, he is a ‘hero’ worthy of another pingat.

  6. #6 by pwcheng on Tuesday, 2 July 2013 - 12:12 am

    Tony Pua had said and he said it right on June 17th 2013.
    In May 2006, the Royal Malaysian Police Force threatened a revolt by the force should the then Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration proceeded to implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the Police.

    As a result of the threat, the proposed IPCMC legislation was ditched and the substantially watered down Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) was set up.

    Actually the shit government is being blackmailed by the police force who threatened that they will en-blocked not vote for BN if the government under Badawi were to implement the IPCMC.
    Its all because of the votes which UMNO wanted desperately. The people and the country had to suffer for it. We now have a police force that is submissive to UMNO baru and looking after the interests of UMNO baru. The double whammy is the rakyat has to pay them salary to “blow up” anybody standing in the way of UMNO Baru.
    That is why no right thinking well informed rakyat will ever vote for BN. It is only the less informed and misguided rural folks that UMNO can hoodwinked.

    • #7 by Jafri Basron on Tuesday, 2 July 2013 - 5:44 pm

      When you called a legitimately elected Government “shit government” .. it implied that your brain is filled with shit and everything you spurt is simply shit.

  7. #8 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 2 July 2013 - 10:05 am

    Najib has a long list of appointments to key position that comes with baggage often severe. Its part of several key reasons that his plan was never going to work from the start.

    Najib’s main problem was his party and from the start he did not have a plan. He just figured that he would take the same old basic and just raise the game higher. It was never going to work and was covered up because China and US pump primed their economy..As soon as the cover dissappears and lies all come apart its going to all unravel fast..

  8. #9 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 2 July 2013 - 1:31 pm

    Would you be surprised if AG Chambers appeal the Kugan case and the Appeals Court then listen to some submission…then, hey presto… the trial judge has erred?

    Khalid is absolved.

    Trial judge is then made to look like a bloody fool by Utusan Malaysia..

    Can we expect better from Malaysian judicial system?

  9. #10 by DAP man on Tuesday, 2 July 2013 - 3:54 pm

    I think the Judiciary and the country will end up in deep shit, not the IGP or the BN government since the government wallows in it all the time.
    I am afraid as Endangered Hornbill has said that V.T. Singham will be clobbered on appeal and his remarks expunged from the records.
    It’s national service to demonize and shame a retired judge than to shame a sitting IGP.
    Any government with a modicum of morality and sense of shame will not appeal this ruling. The appeal is to exonerate the IGP. What else could it be?

  10. #11 by Jafri Basron on Tuesday, 2 July 2013 - 5:53 pm

    It’s without doubt that the Government of Malaysia truly wants the PDRM to improve on their operational and professionalism status and looked upon with credibility by the citizens. Only through better professionalism standard that the PDRM can be more effective and credible.
    Secondly, if the security and safety of the citizens are not secured; the country would turn into anarchy and this would not benefits anyone.

You must be logged in to post a comment.