The Igp S Percipient Hari Raya Rejoinder

"So I believe my men are good. Basically, they are good men, so we have to set a good example from the top. I will set a good example from the top.” - Abdul Hamid BadorWhile the top cop of the country may not have meant for his rejoinder to the district chiefs to cease their unethical behaviour as a Hari Raya message, we should take it as one, because of all the public institutions in this country, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) have not had someone like Bador steering the ship
One of the aspects of toppling the Najib regime that has shown signs of progress is the way Harapan has been handling the state security apparatus, specifically the PDRM
It has been a messy process and there have been missteps, but overall, Malaysians can be cautiously optimistic that some sort of reform is underway in PDRM. The appointment of Abdul Hamid Bador as the top cop of the country and his support of the government’s initiatives to reform this most vital of public institutions is evidence that in some areas a Malaysia Baru is slowly emerging
While the upper echelons of the police bureaucracy, no doubt aided and abetted by their political cohorts, have been resistant to the IPCMC, Hamid has taken the initiative to accept it and to educate the police force on the benefits of having this independent commission. From what I gather from police personnel who support this initiative, Hamid understands that this is also a safety net for those “good cops” when it comes to the culture of corruption, which he acknowledges exists in the PDRM
His latest stern rejoinder to district chiefs on collecting “funds” supposedly for Hari Raya celebrations and his contempt of those who would use religion – “What is more despicable, there are those who collect the funds claiming it would be forwarded to the asnaf (those eligible for zakat or tithe)” – is a clear indication that Hamid truly wants to curtail corruption in the police force
Hamid has been candid about the repercussion by the Najib regime of his attempts to investigate 1MDB and SRC scandals, going so far as to acknowledge his role in thwarting a key witness in the SRC trial against Najib, and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil's attempt to escape with the aid of “kuasa-kuasa tertentu."These “kuasa-kuasa tertentu” are a clear and present danger to the reform efforts of the PDRM. I am not talking about Umno only, but also the entrenched interests that predate the historic May 9 Harapan win. Anyone who tells you that it was solely Umno/BN who were in cahoots with rogue elements in the PDRM is lying
If you wish to understand the nexus between the state, security apparatus and corruption, you should read the letter by Tenaganita’s Joseph Paul Maliamauv about foreign labour, or read the reportage about the RCI on Wang Kelain
What I like about Hamid is that he is forthright in his description of the culture of corruption that has taken root in the state security apparatus. He acknowledges that this culture is perpetrated by senior police officers who corral younger officers to doing their bidding. There are “good cops” in the system, but what happens is they are tuned by senior cops, who have carved out the state security apparatus into petty fiefdoms aligned with politicians for mutual benefit
This is a very important point. Young cops, for various reasons, engage in corrupt practices, but the commonality is that they are led into it. They are fearful that the system is watching them because they are told that the chain of command is unforgiving to those who betray their seniors. They understand, very early on, that there is very little oversight either from the political apparatus or the police bureaucracy
So they play the game and hope to advance sufficiently until they get into a position where their financial livelihood is secure.There is a reason why Hamid reminded cops on Raya leave to celebrate with their families and visit the graves of their relatives, instead of hanging out with senior cops. He understated that this culture is based on camaraderie and corruption
Hamid correctly points out the nexus between the state security apparatus and gambling syndicates. What he leaves out is the political nexus. This does not mean the state security apparatus should not crack down on corrupt politicians, but the first step is admitting that the state security apparatus has a problem
Meanwhile, on the political side, recent comments by Lim Kit Siang (above) about increasing the housing allowance of the police officers and men in Johor Bahru and other major cities is a welcome departure from his usual petty sniping at former prime minister Najib Tun Razak
While there have been the usual racist remarks about the grand old man of politics in the far right media, I have received hundreds of emails and texts from police officers, still serving and retired, who are thankful Kit Siang raised this issue. While Hamid may have also raised this issue, the perception is that the political apparatus is indifferent to the needs of the rank and file of the police force because for years they were the opposition
Kit Siang paying a visit to a police headquarters and speaking on the need for an increase of housing allowance is something that most in the rank and file can relate to. There is this idea that the DAP is antagonistic to the police force, because of the propaganda efforts by the former regime and the far right. The police personnel who I talked to were impressed that an “important” politician like Lim Kit Siang was speaking on their behalf
This is what reforming the state security apparatus must include - the acknowledgement that the political apparatus has been derelict in its obligations in creating a functional state security apparatus, which includes the welfare of the people in these services
Hamid has been cautious when issuing statements and when he does, it always seems to include nuggets of information on how the state security apparatus works or the real problems facing this country. This is a good start for an organisation that has been mired in political meddling and systemic corruption
There is a reason to be cautiously optimistic, and only time will tell if Hamid can tame the beast that is the state security apparatus
To all state security personnel and essential services personnel who are on duty, thank you for your service and to all Malaysians celebrating, have a reflective Hari Raya
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of the National Patriots Association. - Mkini

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