PETALING JAYA: Should laws in the Federal Constitution that grant the home minister chairmanship of the Police Force Commission (PFC) be amended to shift such leadership to an apolitical official as suggested by outgoing Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador (pix) on Friday?
National Patriot Association president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said he fully supports such amendments be made to the Constitution to ensure the integrity of the PFC is upheld at the highest level.
“There is a critical need to replace politicians with officials who are not aligned to politics to head the PFC. Even the three ex-police officers in the PFC should be removed and replaced with currently serving police directors. This is to enable ongoing issues in the police force to be resolved and ironed out,“ he told theSun yesterday.
He said the home minister should not have absolute powers in decisions on transfers or promotion of senior police officers as the the IGP was more familiar with his personnel and his decision on such matters should be respected.
Constitutional lawyer Syahredzan Johan said there should a mechanism to enable scrutiny by Parliament of decisions made by the PFC.
“An extra layer of check will be useful and such scrutiny can perhaps be conducted by a Parliament committee,“ he told theSun.
He agreed that the chairmanship of the PFC should be filled by a non-politician.
Academician and criminologist Datuk P Sundramoorthy said as politicians could be obligated to serve certain segments of society, it would be inappropriate for them to have a high role in the PFC.
The honorary associate professor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) also said an apolitical individual should chair the PFC.
“It does not necessarily need to be an ex-judge. It can be a doctor, an academician or a lawyer who is know for high integrity and is aware of the police structure. Gender and ethnicity should also be represented in the PFC. The home ministry should be at the most take on the role of secretariat. There should be zero politicians in the PFC,“ he told theSun.
However, former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan said a home minister taking on the role of chairman of the PFC as per the Constitution is not a serious concern as it does not give absolute powers to him as there are other members in the commission including the IGP and ex-police top brass.
“It has never been an issue in the past. The home minister might be the chairman of the PFC but any decision he makes can be objected by the other members of the commission. There are three ex-senior police officers in the PFC and they have no reason to be afraid of the home minister as they are retired. The IGP should work in harmony with the home minister, failing which he should then choose to vacate his post,“ he said.
Musa who admitted that there had also been meddling in the police force by politicians during his tenure said he addressed the matter by simply putting the law above all.
“If a police officer is ordered by his superior to carry out any act deemed illegal by the law, he need not comply and no action will be taken against him. We need to be firm and fearless. It is not difficult, just follow the law. During my time as IGP, politicians from both factions interfered in police work. For an example, when we arrested underworld figures, there will be calls to have them released. Even when I was ordered to do so by my superiors, I refused and was firm on my decision. We should respect our superiors and not be afraid to stand up to them. Superiors on the other hand should respect their subordinates.” he told theSun.
Musa said he felt that Abdul Hamid’s actions to go public with integrity issues in the police force and his rift with the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin was inappropriate as public perception on the entire police force was put in bad light.
On Friday, in a fiery press conference, Abdul Hamid had lashed out at Hamzah for meddling in police affairs, especially in a recent promotion and transfer exercise of senior police officers.
He had also called for the chairmanship of the PFC to be offered to non-politicians such as an ex-judge.