Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What's wrong with the Malaysian police.

My grandfather was an OCPD at Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang. He was a handsome young man with impeccable dressing, spoke good Queen's English  and a soft spoken charming guy  happily married with four wives all living together in one big bungalow  . He passed away at the age of 75 due to diabetic related illnesses. My father was  also a policeman and recently   got married for the third time  to  a relatively  young woman after the death of my mother and his second wife and he is now 84 years old . He is still  strong physically for that age and still whining to his children about getting a new car . He is, however, retired from the police force  a long time ago with the rank of a Sergeant major or SM as they call it at the age of 55 after serving more than 30 years in the police force. When he was young,  he   was a stern looking man with a very loud clear voice.  To call me, he would just shout out  loud from our  house and his husky voice would vibrate through  our  neighborhood. Upon hearing my name being called,I would  immediately rushed back home as fast as I could  "to receive orders" from my father. Life was so regimented and disciplined then for our family of eight. With a meager salary of around RM 300 ringgit my father supported a family of nine. Life was particularly difficult financially but enjoyable nonetheless. Occasionally,  we often got whacked by our fiercely strict father for the  simplest mistakes.
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Police on the take?

To follow the family tradition, my youngest brother also applied to be a policeman many moons ago and was accepted as a rank and file and  attached some where  at a police station in Penang. He was a corporal and married with 3 beautiful  children. Recently, he  was called for an officer's training to be a police inspector . Our lives as children of a policeman centered around the police and PERKEP (Persatuan keluarga Polis- I'm not very sure whether this the meaning of the acronym). We stayed at very small Berek polis (Police housing quarters) where the kitchen and  toilet were separated from the living room and the two bedrooms. Despite the difficulties, the  policemen then were very well respected by  the community. But now all the respect is virtually diminished and  'gone with the wind'. What is  wrong with the police? In this blog,  I would like to share my views of the police which I feel would also reflect the view of the ordinary people of Malaysia regardless of race and religion.

 The perception now of the police by the ordinary people is that they are corrupt. I don't know how so called 'corrupt' they are but this is the view  from the street. I have heard or read somewhere that among the government agencies, the police force are the most corrupt. If a few people or the opposition members argue that the police are corrupt , then I would not totally agree at all but if  a lot of ordinary people or the rakyat  keep on talking about it then something is not right here. There might be some truth to the matter. I have to admit that there are a lot of  good policemen around  and I believe my brother, my dad and grand father are some of them. Corruption in the police force, however, seems to be so widespread and systemic that I really hope that we could do something to stop this congenital menace.
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Mau selesai ka?

This scourge has been going on for so long. When I was a kid in Sungai Petani, Kedah  I used to see  policemen mainly rank and files making rounds and occasionally made scheduled visits to  Chinese owned sundry shops selling illegal 4 digit numbers. In my housing area in Bandar Baru Bangi,  I have seen some policemen   looking for Indonesian contract workers working on house extensions around some  housing areas. But I don't know whether they were looking for criminals, suspicious men, unregistered illegal workers or looking for some 'little little'  goodies.  I have seen also some police  men stopping at the side of the lorry hidden from the traffic and seemed to be  'negotiating' or doing something that may be unethicallynot right. I believe they should not not be haggling or whatever they were doing hidden from the preying eyes of the public. I have also  heard  how money is  allegedly given in envelopes to police chiefs but  I don't know how far this is true, I am not accusing them of taking bribes but all these stories although unproven but they seem to be so real and revealing.

Hell, the Thai police and immigration officers  are even worst. On the way in to Thailand via Hatyai or Danok ,I would just put in RM 10 ringgit in the passport to help me  pass through the check point speedily and safely. I heard from my brother in law who was a regular visitor to Thailand that  that competing Thai police officers had to put up a tender to have the privilege to work or to be the Chief police at the border . The police in Indonesia too expect "uang pelincir" to solve what ever problems there may be. Malaysia probably is not as daring and open as those in Thailand or Indonesia. But there must be some form of corruption going on.  However, I really hope that corruption is Malaysia is not institutionalized  as those in some countries. We need to put a  stop to this menacing and damaging acts . I truly  believe that it should start from the top.

 There is also the perception of the people that the police are not very intelligent group of people in solving problems. This is specially true of those holding higher ranks. I am not referring to their paper qualifications as currently prospective applicants  need to have a degree in order to be a police inspector. The  stupidity is that they tend to have ordinary road blocks especially during the peak hours but nowadays I have seen less of this. This is quite an improvement, Previously I remember that when the traffic was at its peak we would see the police would begin  manning road blocks and some times the roadblock they formed is so discreet  that we don't even know there is one going on and that they would do it in a quiet  area that can sometimes be quite dangerous.

I also notice that some of the policemen are not too passionate about doing their work. They are more interested in fulfilling their  materials needs. I have seen  that some policemen in police squad cars are interested in  looking for taxis ferrying Indonesian contract workers more than the traffic offenders or other suspecting criminals. Sometimes when you go to a a police station to settle accident  matters you will see some Chinese men aka "vultures" loitering around the place station looking for potential customers in repairing a dented car. They do it surreptitiously but you can't never go wrong in terms of guessing what are they trying to achieve at the police station. It seems that there is a so called win-win situation going on there between these two parties. Another thing that I noticed in some cities like KL where some police traffics with high powered bikes  are more interested in escorting dead people using government assets. I'm referring to some policemen giving  escorts to a long procession to send off the dead to their 'homes'. I don't know whether these police outriders are paid for the service but I can tell you that  they are  very committed work of managing the traffic.Their escorting the dead is like escorting the Sultan of Brunei and his  convoys.

Sometimes you wonder why some illegal 4 digit agents ,illegal health centers or illegal massage places   are thriving at some shop-houses in towns even though the police station is not very far away. I got the sense that some of members of the  police are allegedly 'colluding' with the criminal activities. Otherwise, why would these illegal premises would be mushrooming around towns. If you go to certain sections of the  town you will notice some shady businesses are going on behind some dirty  premises with seemingly sexy looking girls loitering around eliciting  customers and sometimes the not so surprising thing is that you would  come across a middle man normally a middle-aged Chinese man  who would go round  noisily looking for the unsuspecting young people to be their customers . And these things are allegedly happening not far far from the police station. At the border, you would find people smuggler using our territory to do illicit businesses or smuggling people with out any actions from the police.  It seems that there's an alleged complicity between the police and the criminals at the border too. I read in the newspaper somewhere that allegedly almost 80 % of those working at the border are on the take. Sad but  the rakyat could see all these things.

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IGP: A man to stop the scourge?
There is a strong connection between my family and the police and the relationship which started many decades ago still continues until today. I wish at least one of my children would also become a policeman. But with the negative perception of the police force make me have a second thought about the nexus between us and the police. The IGP would have to do something to clean up the battered image, I believe he is a man full of integrity and can take the challenge head on. He has to get rid of those who are on the take and clean up the mess. I hope the police force can take back the solid image that it used to have.


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