‘Criminal elements present in police, politics’

Ex-IGP Musa Hassan makes several hard hitting allegations, including the infiltration of criminal elements in the force, political interference and the lack of control by the current IGP

Teoh El Sen, FMT

Criminal elements have infiltrated the police force and even politics, the former Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan suggested when he kick-started a new anti-crime NGO, MyWatch.

“Looking at the present situation, where there is a lot of illegal activities, do you think there is no links? You can answer yourself,” he told a press conference where he was named patron and advisor to MyWatch yesterday.

He revealed that there are cases where the links are too high up and “nobody dares talk about it”. He cited a case of a high-ranking police officer he did not name who was brought overseas for golfing by a “shady businessman”.

“Sometimes I feel they can even dictate officers, sometimes even spend [money] on police officers,” he said.

Musa advised the current police leadership to be careful with the people they mingle with or face dire consequences.

“Of course as a police officer, you cannot have links with dubious people. The people now have eyes, every phone has a camera. You are living in a glass house. If you don’t take care of yourself, if you allow to be friendly then your organisation will be destroyed,” he said, adding that politicians should not have underground links.

“It is very bad now. Later on the Mafia will be ruling this country, we don’t want that to happen, it took 30 years to clean up the Mafia in America,” he said.

Musa himself has been accused of such links, especially in the case of Johor kingpin Goh Cheng Poh aka Tengku Goh but has repeatedly dismissed the claims as attempts to bring him down.

“During my time, there was a professional way of doing things if we needed to get close to underworld characters. That is undercover work. When I was in narcotics, my relationship would be to purely gather evidence. There must be a line drawn,” he explained.

The press conference was chaired by MyWatch chief R Sri Sanjeevan and advisor S Gobi Krishnan, both PKR leaders.

Sri Sanjeevan said that the main objective of this new NGO, called the Malaysian Crime Watch Task Force, was to fight crime and not merely criticise the government.

However, he warned that if he did not get the cooperation of the current police, under IGP Ismail Omar, he would “go public with evidence”.

Gobi Krishnan said that the NGO would be challenging “every official statistic”, and promised to reveal “real” numbers.

Political interference

During the press meet, which lasted close to three hours, Musa also spoke about political interference and implied that his successor Ismail was losing command and control of the force.

Musa named Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and his deputy as the people who would usually try to give instructions to the force, and that this bad trend was still occurring.

“During my time whenever I arrested some crooks, there will be phone calls from top people. They even ask us to release. I will ask for an instruction in black and white,” he said, adding that the politicians would usually back off after being asked for a written order.

“You read the papers, sometimes you hear ‘I have directed the police to do this and that’. That’s wrong,” he said. He cited Section 4 of the Police Act which says that control and command of the force should come under the sole power of the IGP.

He also said that aside from ministers and deputy ministers, there were also “others” who attempt to give orders to the police, including opposition politicians.

Musa chastised the current police leadership under Ismail.

“The current IGP must make his own decisions on how to run the police force, not taking orders and all that from anyone.

“Even before I retired, I said, ‘please don’t interfere with the police administration’. Let the police do their job, do not interfere with the police… there are dissatisfaction on the ground among officers who said that they received instructions not from (their police superiors) but from the Home Ministry.

“He [Ismail] is a good man, but being a good man alone is not a criteria to be an IGP. You have to be tough also. Sometimes you have to be vocal towards your superiors. When it is not right,” he said.

“Dont just say “Yes”. I use to say, if the IGP is a ‘yes man’ he will be the best IGP in the world, if he is vocal then he will have alot of allegations against him. If you are a ‘yes man’ then you are the best IGP in the world, because in Malaysia it works that way,” he added.

Musa, however, expressed confidence in Ismail from his past record under him: “He was good before, strict. I feel that he is clean, that’s why I groomed him to be the IGP, but now he has to perform. I use to tell him he must be better than me!”

He also spoke about the time when he was speculated to have a fall out with Hishammuddin, saying their relationship was “so far so good”.

“When I found out that instructions were given [by Hishammuddin] to junior officers and OCPDs (Officer in Charge of Police District) without my knowledge, then something is wrong.

“So, I highlighted to him Section 4(1) of the Police Act … command and control of the police force is by the IGP, not a minister. I talked to him nicely, he didn’t like it… that’s why I [my tenure] was not extended,” said Musa, who retired as IGP in September 2010.

Musa also lamented that “nobody seems to respect the police now” and asked the “top police generals to look at themselves whether they can improve further on their service.”

“If you want to improve things, you need to introspect and see the weaknesses in your organisation, you identify that weakness then you change and improve,” he said.