Anwar gives Khairy a lesson in debating during police Bill

By Wong Choon Mei, Suara Keadilan

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim gave his political junior Umno’s Khairy Jamaluddin a good hiding when the latter tried to accuse him of playing the race card.

“We appreciate the vast majority of the police personnel including the vast majority of the Malays but we cannot condone corruption, intimidation, harassment, bullying by Malays, Chinese and Indians,” Anwar told reporters at the sidelines of Parliament.

“I think this is really unfortunate if we have to choose to defend them just because they happen to be Malays.”

The reform icon had earlier crossed swords with the Umno Youth chief over the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission or EAIC Bill, which the Umno-BN was trying to push through Parliament in place of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission or IPCMC Bill.

Anwar is unhappy with the EAIC which does not posses any powers of investigation and has to refer all cases to the public prosecutor, making it a mere complaints bureau rather than an independent body capable of checking police corruption and abuse of power.

He accused the Umno-BN of pushing through the water-down version to shield top-level Malay officers at the force.

“What is the point of making up all this new laws if corruption among enforcement agencies are still not dealt with despite having enough laws to stop it,” said Anwar.

Showy emptiness – Khairy and the EAIC

His stinging remarks drew a heated response from Khairy.

“You are the first to say that the IPCMC was rejected to protect Malay officers. We from the BN side have never once say that. You are the one playing the race issue here,” the Rembau MP said.

He insisted the government dropped the IPCMC because it did not want to demoralise the police force.

“Are you saying that the EAIC is superfluous? I disagree. The new body is necessary for the government to deal with the very points you have just raised,” the 33-year old insisted.

But despite the heated words and elaborate show of passion, Khairy nevertheless found himself agreeing with Anwar that the EAIC lacked the very powers it needed to deal with corruption and abuse of power in the force.

Now in its second reading, the EAIC is expected to be hammered through and made into law at the end of the current Parliament sitting.

Disgust and frustration at the endemic corruption in the police force was among chief reasons why Malaysians gave Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat the bulk of the popular vote and control of five states in the 2008 general election.

Said Anwar: “We do recognise the importance of police personnel, we defend their rights. We understand their sacrifices and we want them to succeed but they cannot be held ransom due to the corruption and inefficiency of a few police personnel, that is the major question and we want to know why they are being protected?

“What is at stake? Do we want a professional police force with impeccable credentials?”