Zaid: Let parliament confirm key positions

Written by Sharon Tan, The Edge 

Former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said the public should know the rationale behind the appointment of individuals to key government positions such as the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Chief Justice and the Chief Secretary to the Government.

As such, he said that the confirmation of the individuals to such positions should be made by parliament.

Speaking at a parliamentary roundtable discussion today, Zaid also questioned the government's failure to investigate allegations by former Deputy Home Minister Datuk Johari Baharom that top police officers have links with the underworld.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub told the audience that he had sent a letter to the home ministry together with affidavits from police personnel regarding the ties of certain people with the underworld.

"If I don't get any answers before the next parliament sitting, I will reveal all the names in parliament," Salahuddin said at the roundtable discussion entitled New IGP for a Safe Malaysia.

Speakers generally called on the government to appoint a new inspector-general of police in line with the country's reform agenda.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he believed that there are many credible police officers with good credentials and professionalism who could be entrusted with the position, but with a clear interest in wanting reforms.

"We want a new IGP with a clear reform agenda. Improving the performance of the police force, their professionalism and ridding the police force of crime and suspected involvement with the underworld," said Anwar.

Pre-empting criticism, he told the discussion which was attended by about 40 opposition MPs and 16 NGO representatives that the issue was not a racial one.

"This is not an issue about eroding Malay leadership. This is about justice and human rights. It is not about race," he stressed.

A notable attendee at the discussion was former Special Branch chief Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Ling who said members of the police force who grew up during the Emergency had forgotten that "we are not fighting communists but must allow democratic processes to take place".

He added that people should be allowed to demonstrate if they want to while the police are there to make sure they do not break the law.

Yuen said if a new IGP is to be appointed, it should go to the most senior in the force.

DAP's MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang called on the government to adopt the objective of a democratic policing as the new modus operandi of the Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM) so that the force serves the people.

Lawmakers from the opposition bench passed four resolutions at the discussion. They are:

  • to call on IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan not to seek a further two-year renewal of his tenure (expiring in September) on the grounds of his supposed failure in the past three years to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and protect human rights;
  • to call for the appointment of a new IGP to ensure a safe Malaysia as well as to present a new image of democratic policing in Malaysia;
  • to call on the prime minister to include in his key performance indicator (KPI) for crime prevention, not just the reduction in street crime by 20% in 2010 but also all categories of crime as proposed by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission in its report in May 2005; and
  • that the prime minister set up the IPCMC as recommended by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission.