Need for independent public inquiry into police top brass and Home Ministry — Kua Kia Soong

Musa Hassan

(TMI) — The serious allegations of misconduct against the former IGP Musa Hassan through a statutory declaration (SD) made in 2009 and the recent claim by the ex-IGP himself that criminal elements had infiltrated the force as well as interference of politicians in investigations warrant an urgent independent public inquiry to restore public trust in the police force.

These allegations contained in the SD were by police officer Noor Azizul Rahim Taharim, who served as Musa’s aide-de-camp from 2005 to 2007. The document accuses Musa of wrongdoings during his tenure and exposes how he had purportedly silenced critics with transfers and trumped-up charges. 

Azizul claims that former CID director Christopher Wan had revealed to him that Musa had directed the setting up of a covert blog to publish allegations of corruption against then Deputy Home Minister Johari Baharom. The contents of the blog, he said, damaged Johari’s reputation and subjected him to a probe by the Anti-Corruption Agency.

“I am also aware of the statutory declarations made by several policemen, police informants and subjects of police actions showing links between Musa and the underworld, specifically concerning restricted residence detainee Goh Cheng Poh @ Tongku and one shadow figure, BK Tan. Based on my personal knowledge and involvement as the ADC to the IGP, I can confirm that the statements made by these deponents concerning Musa were true…,” he alleged.

Referring to the SDs of ASP Mior Fahim Ahmad and ASP Hong Kin Hock, Azizul confirmed that their allegations had basis. The pair had claimed that there was manipulation of promotions, ranks and postings in the police involving BK Tan.

“The credibility of these officers would be ‘demolished’ such that whatsoever information they gathered about Musa would be discredited. These officers would suffer hardship being transferred away from their families and home base. They would also get bypassed in promotions and suffer disciplinary action without the proper process. Consequently, less able officers climbed the ranks and the victimised officers were used as warnings against others… This process of ‘mecantas’ [pruning] explains the apparent lack of ability by PDRM to tackle crime, the lack of motivation and low morale within PDRM that saw crime escalating at an alarming rate during Musa’s tenure,” he added.

After former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gave Musa a two-year extension in 2007,”this served as a powerful endorsement that the government was fully behind Musa. A sense of fear also gripped many within PDRM and outside when not long after that in October 2007, the lawyer who assisted CCD [Ramli] in the Goh Cheng Poh @ Tengku matter [after the A-G’s Chambers declined to prepare affidavits for the CCD] was himself arrested in a most humiliating manner and charged one day before Aidilfitri.

“The message was clear that Musa had the support of the ACA, the Attorney-General and the prime minister in all his actions. The fear among officers in PDRM became the need for self-preservation after six rank-and-file policemen including Ramli were charged with various offences. Not long after that, the A-G ordered the release of the said Goh Cheng Ph @ Tengku.” (FMT, 4.12.12)

These are serious allegations by the former aide-de-camp of the ex-IGP which have demoralised the entire Malaysian police force.

Earlier in the week, the ex-IGP himself had pointed the finger at Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein when he charged that politicians had interfered with investigations. Musa’s revelations that the police force had been infiltrated by criminal elements and that the current IGP Ismail Omar was weak in heading the police force are enough reason for the urgent establishment of an independent public inquiry.

These exposes of unprofessional goings-on in the police top brass and skeletons in the cupboard of the Home Ministry provide us with some clue as to why the recommendation by the Royal Commission on the Police in 2005 for an Independent Police Complaints & Misconduct Committee has failed to be implemented after so many years. 

The government must ultimately be held responsible for dragging its feet on this vital reform to stop deaths in custody, police shootings and the culture of impunity in the Malaysian police force.

The just accomplished Leveson Commission over British media practices brought about by phone hacking of the British media cannot compare with these much more serious allegations against the Malaysian police top brass and the home minister.  

* By Dr Kua Kia Soong, Suaram adviser.