Police Independence – Does it matter?


Given the rate that our Government is making public statements on current police investigations and in some way representing the police to call on Anwar to give his DNA, one wonders if the police is truly independent or not!  Maybe that’s not the right question to ask.  Maybe it should be “Can the Police be independent?” and the answer is a resounding NO!  Why?  Does it matter?

The Royal Commission on the Police had made numerous recommendations to improve the way PDRM operates.  Besides having enormous budget allocations in 9MP to fund new projects for them, there doesn’t seem to be any apparent changes in the way the Police is working on a day to day basis.  Everything that was before the Royal Commission is still as is now.

Many Malaysians are quite abhored over the fact that politicians, including our PM, had made demands that Anwar should do this or that with regards to the current police investigations.  Karpal Singh wagged his tongue on the same today (read here).  Syed Hamid says the same.  So how can the police investigate in peace without the politicians “helping” them?

In reality, we have forgotten that PDRM reports to Syed Hamid for Home Ministry who reports to the PM as head of the Cabinet.  Then the AG reports to Zaid Ibrahim for the Law Ministry who also reports to the PM.  Certainly, when we hear the PM making statements today regarding the the IGP or the AG, we are duly reminded that the Police and AG offices are under the directive of the PM.  So let us not forget that the PM is all powerful when it comes to these public services.

As such, when the PM and related Government officials like Syed Hamid comments on the need for Anwar’s DNA, they are doing their duty as leaders of the Government or are they not?  Perhaps shouldn’t the non-political leadership make those comments?  But who is higher up than the IGP and the AG who are both alleged in a police report that they had fabricated evidence in an earlier case involving Anwar?  Syed Hamid and Zaid Ibrahim?  Then again, for political mileage, the PM of course.

Hence, the involvement of political figures like the Pak Lah and Syed Hamid making comments on on-going police investigations immediately gives us the impression that the allegations framed against Anwar is very political indeed.  If not, why aren’t Pak Lah and Syed Hamid making similar type of comments against other individuals like Najib to clear the public’s perception about his involvement in the Altantuya case or the thousands of police investigations that’s happening currently?

All the more when it involves a very public figure like Anwar, it is important for Pak Lah and Syed Hamid to refrain from making comments that implicate them in politicising the case.  Certainly, this is not new to Malaysia.  The sensational arrest of Anwar and the impending case of RPK both attract public and international attention.  I would think that the Government should do well to stay away from these cases publicly and allow for the due process to take place lest anyone accuses that this is a political asassination of Anwar by the current Government.

Now who am I, an ordinary Malaysian, to comment on the collective wisdom of the Umno-led Government?  Anything the Police and AG do with regards to due process are under the direct control of the Government.  So can cases be handled impartially at all?  Will the dedicated men and women in the public services be able to do the honorable work without fear or favor and disregard the possible interference of political officials?

I really hope so!  I wonder if it can be done and I really hope it can.  I hope all the public servants, including Government officials, remember who is paying their salaries and who they are serving and who voted them into office!

The Malaysian public deserves the best and unselfish public service which does appear in pockets here and there but when the current climate persists, apolitical due process is warranted and expected by all both in Malaysia and around the world!

We know the police in the reporting lines cannot be independent because ultimately they report into the Home Minister and then to the PM.  We hope that the political officials do not pull rank on the police so that they can investigate without fear or favor into all police cases, especially those that involves public interests.

Police independence is needed not only in perception but in reality and it really matters to us Malaysian public!


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