Musa’s allegation not to be taken lightly

(SinChewDaily) Outgoing Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan has made an allegation before leaving the office that there is a third party interference in police work.

Why didn’t he mention it during his term of office as the IGP over the past four years?

In addition, Musa also admitted that there are different factions in the police force and he has actually eliminated many of them.

Since the problems have existed for a long time, and an external force has prevented him from reforming the police, causing him to implemented only 48% of his five-year restructuring plan, as the head of a professional disciplinary force, Musa should report to the higher level once he found out the problems. It is because of the lack of a channel, or poor communication?

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam have both denied Musa’s claims of third party interference in the police force.

However, it is a very serious allegation. The cabinet should make a thorough investigation to see whether there are people interfering in police work in the name of the Home Ministry. The police must carry out its tasks independently and freely. Any interference might prevent the cause of justice.

The inquiry should not only investigate the police but also extends the scope of investigation to protect the independence and professionalism of all law enforcement agencies.

For example, former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Shafee Yahya claimed that former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had prevented the ACA in 1998 from investigating the then director-general of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department.

In addition, former Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Ramli Yusuff, who has been acquitted of a charge of being involved in business when he was a civil servant, claimed in October 2007 that the high level officers in the ACA, the Attorney-General’s Chamber and the police were unfair.

Ramli had accused the ACA of framing his subordinates while the police did not protect them. Three policemen were accused to have involved in forgery when conducting an investigation on a Chinese loan shark in Johor. Ramli claimed that the Commecial Crime Investigation Department took actions against the suspect based on the instructions given by the then deputy minister of the Internal Security Ministry (the current Home Affairs Ministry).

On the other hand, PAS has said that the police had received reports in 2002 and 2005 claiming that former Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chairman had involved in the RM8 billion loss. Ramli had suggested charging the person involved but the authority took no action.

The inquiry must investigate all similar allegations and incidents and develop a set of guidelines and laws to prevent third party interference in law enforcement and prosecution units.

Undeniably, the police has established a professional image, particularly in intelligence gathering, since the British colonel era. In particular cases, such as the destruction of religious places, the police have shown its capability in solving the cases and maintain social stability. In terms of wiping out violent criminals, the police have also shown a high efficiency.

The Malaysian police force is doing much better if we compare it to the error-prone approach used by the Philippine police in rescuing Hong Kong hostages on a bus hijacked in Manila.

However, the role of the police has been on dispute after the March 2008 general election. The government must uphold the images of the police force and other law enforcement units to restore public confidence.