Time for Bukit Aman to look at re-inventing the police force


It is now quite clear that Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has put Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and perhaps the entire police force too in a tight spot.

Aziz Bari, The Ant Daily

Zahid wrote to the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the United States that Paul Phua Wei Seng, a Malaysian who used to run a casino in Macau and now facing charges of running illegal sports betting in Las Vegas, is not a member of the Hong Kong 14K triad. The minister also said that the gambling kingpin had in fact helped the government in certain security projects!

This is not the first time the minister in charge of the police force got himself entangled in a public conflict with the police chief. Some years ago one of Khalid’s predecessors Tan Sri Musa Hasan found himself embroiled in a similar conflict with the then home minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.


Curiously not too long before that, Musa was also entangled in a row with the deputy minister of home affairs. Musa’s predecessor, Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar, even went to the extreme of warning the administration of the then prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that members of police force would not vote for the ruling Barisan Nasional in the forthcoming general election if the government proceeded with the setting up of the IPCMC, the proposed monitoring agency for the police force.

It was no surprise that the government backed off as the police force is composed of some 100,000 members nationwide. Together with the military – which has close to 150,000 members – they constitute 25 percent of the entire federation’s public service.

Back to the issue of Paul Phua, it was not the first time IGP Khalid contradicted a cabinet minister: he was also caught in a public spat with Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz not too long ago over the security situation in Sabah.

The latter was obviously concerned about the security – or the lack of it – in the Land Below the Wind; something that was flatly denied by Khalid.

Whatever the truth behind these issues, from the point of view of the Constitution, it is the minister who has the final say. This is because the ministers are elected and they are responsible to Parliament. This is indeed the essence of our system; namely the parliamentary system of government.

The public servants, no matter how senior and high ranking they may be, could not override the government of the day whose pillars are the Cabinet that is composed of the prime minister and his ministers.

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