Saturday, September 12, 2009

Can the IGP bring the needed change in one year?

Who will benefit from his extension?

The government’s decision to extend the service of the Inspector-General of Police(IGP), Tan Sri Musa Hassan by another year is not surprising. Despite his poor tract record – uncontrolled crime rate, brutal suppression of civil liberties, political impartiality and rumors of his alleged links with the underworld, the government still considers Musa as the best man to continue as IGP for another year. To many it may be puzzling to many but to those in the corridors of power the reasons will be obvious.

The government I am sure has its own reasons for the extending his service but a large section of the people including the opposition and NGOs are skeptical of the need to do so. In fact many are opposed to his extension as they feel it will not bring any benefit to the police force and the nation in general.His stay will only delay the badly needed reforms in the police force.

Extension of the service of senior government servants after their retirement should not be routinely encouraged except in cases of dire need as such a practice would encourage cronyism, corruption and create unhappiness among others who are deserving and waiting for their turn to be promoted. Furthermore the change that we are all waiting for can only be brought about by new people taking over the reins of power. In general it would be naive to expect drastic changes from the same old leaders who has become comfortable with their old entrenched ways.

The police force is one of the most important institutions in the country as it is the agency that is responsible for maintaining the law and order. As such it must be seen to be truly independent and impartial in handling the various crises, political or otherwise that emerge from time to time. A police force that is professional and politically non-partisan is paramount for the peace and security in the country.

Over the years the reputation of the police force has been adversely affected by the various controversies that it was involved. It is high time for the IGP to seriously act to redeem the image of his force before the situation takes a turn for the worse. Will extending Musa’s term per se for another year going to deliver the PDRM from its professional doldrums? He has been the IGP since 2003, will another year make any difference? Will he succeed in redeeming the image of the police in the next one year?

The two major problems confronting the police force are the escalating crime rate and its declining reputation as an uncompromising defender of the rights of all Malaysians, regardless of race, creed or political allegiance. Musa has a formidable task ahead in the coming one year in combating these two evils that plague his institution.He must resist the politicization of the police force if he wants to regain the confidence of the rakyat.

He must find the ways and means to put the brakes on the unacceptably high crime rate and correcting the wrong perception of the people regarding the police force.He must be seen to be independent in acting without fear or favor in tackling the various law and order issues. In this endeavor he must ensure that the right people, with commitment and integrity, are assigned to undertake the various the tasks. He must by his own example lead his men to strictly uphold the Federal Constitution at all costs. There should be no compromise whatsoever in that for whatever reasons.

A lot of adverse comments are circulating in the cyber world regarding the IGP and the police in general. Musa has just one year to prove his critics wrong and thereby restoring the PDRM to its past glory as a tough and no-nonsense crime buster and defender of all Malaysians. He may not be able to accomplish that aim fully within such a short time but at least he can make the start for his successor to continue.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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