Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Police brutality unacceptable

Police brutality unacceptable
I am boiling mad! I am really angry with the police force, that they willingly and voluntarily inflicted wanton abuse and injury to so many civilians.

One does not need more evidence. Just scan the YouTube uploads and it will become evident to any observer.

Abuse is abuse of the law and the special privilege and the concomitant responsibility of being in a uniform which we are called to, and demanded to respect.
NONEIn fact, the uniform even carries the insignia of the royal emblem of Malaysia.

Surely therefore there must be standard operating procedures related to “under what conditions are the Public Order and Preservation Ordinations motions can be called upon” and applied towards violators.

If one is unsure, please go also on the net and find out for yourself, as an ex-military officer has already described and qualified for such “approved procedures of relevant actions”.

If the IGP cannot explain all the obvious abuse by the police upon innocent civilians who simply want a peaceful assembly, then I would like the IGP to resign.

I recognise that his deputy is a worse off character based on his history of public statements and moreover the IGP is a much more sincere and simpler man, but I think the Rupert Murdoch Principle set by the British Parliament must apply.

NONEThe IGP must either tell the whole truth or be deemed unfit to hold public office. That was Rupert Murdoch’s No 1 failure; he pretended that the problem did not exist, and thus did not tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Therefore, the public indictment against his entire reputation, name and image. After all, what does it profit a man when he gains the whole world but loses his soul? Leadership today requires both integration and integrity.

Last week I was invited to attend a closed door review of the history of anti-corruption initiatives in Malaysia since time immemorial. It was good to know, understand and appreciate the real issues and concerns of the past and how they were addressed. It was both revealing and very telling.

Unfortunately though, when the meeting was opened to the floor, objective history concerns were forgotten and the purpose of our meeting lost, as everyone gave their two cents worth of views and opinions.

In fact, to me it was no better than mere coffee-shop talk, as even at our normal the-tarik session, most are usually cordial, honest and transparent with views. But a framework for analysis and review was missing.

Therefore, and because of some personal reasons, I had to leave the meeting early but I am resolved that my views may still be important for the concerns for integrity, and any related issues of bribery and corruption.

Theory of integrity

After all, we were invited as members of the Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI), a Christian think and act tank which focus on six issues of national priority for development.

OHMSI defines integrity as the presence or absence between one’s espoused theory and theory-in-use. These can occur at either individual level, through personal actors or at the corporate or group levels when there are public agents or actors.

The degree of variance in the overlap or lack thereof can be called the lack or presence of integrity.

Therefore, allow me to apply this theory of integrity, which I have variously called many different names, but most popularly as Theory R to my burdened concern about the Malaysian police force and their lack of integrity last Saturday; both at personal and public levels.

When in uniform, no individual has the privilege of using the excuse “that is my personal action and has little or nothing to do with the police force”. Therefore, every action of any man in blue is the action of the police force.

Remember the Rupert Murdoch Principle from the British Parliament. Therefore, in any large and pyramidal system the buck of responsibility and accountability finally stops at the highest level.

All organisations are public in that sense; even so-called private ones as we just found out about the Rupert Murdoch Empire.

Therefore and thereby, we always taught at Intan that final and ultimate responsibility (and therefore accountability) always stops at the chief executive and the board of directors who jointly are held accountable for the good governance of the organisation to fulfil the stated and published responsibilities.

All this is today documented with the Securities Commission and their rules and regulations. The failure in all cases is with execution because of poor and incompetent people being placed in responsibilities far above their capabilities.

Therefore, I have some questions for the IGP which I would like the Bar Council EGM to also review and comment upon, so that we will never again see a repeat of “gangs of thugs in blue uniform abuse their authority and power of law, by personal conduct that cannot be defensible in any court of law”.

How were the laws breached?

My questions for the IGP are:
  • Under what conditions can we say that there was a breach of the law? Peaceful assembly was allowed by none other than the minister. As far as I know, there is only a breach if some physically ran into the Dataran Merdeka, which never happened.
  • Why then were there so many men in blue acting like the vagabond dogs pushing, kicking and physically hurting civilians, who had not committed any known crime, legally speaking?
  •  Why was a traffic police officer pulling out his gun and threatening the public?
  • Why were there so many police personnel in blue uniform without name-tags and regimental numbers? Were they even part and parcel of the Royal Malaysian Police? Were they gazetted officers and sworn to uphold the King’s police rules of conduct?
  • Who made their appointment, and who are they ultimately responsible to in this country if not the Agong?
You see Mr IGP, you are appointed by the King and not the prime minister or the minister of home affairs.

They only recommend your name and it is the Agong, and he may consult his brother Rulers, if he so decides and he may consult anyone else if he so chooses, before he makes known his judgement through his office of appointment.

Once he chooses, then you are appointed by him and responsible to no one else. I am sure you know that. And by the way, only the Agong can also tell you to resign; no one else can, not even the minister of home affairs.

In fact, if anyone gives you wrong instructions or unclear ones, you can instead complain to the Agong and he can instruct the PM to require the home affairs minister to resign.

If you do not know all these principles about good governance of our country, then I really believe that you are not fit to remain as the Inspector General of Police. May God bless Malaysia with truth of this matter.

KJ JOHN was in public service for 29 years. The views expressed here are his personal views and not those of any institution he is involved with. Write to him at with any feedback or views.

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