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Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the Parliamentary Roundtable on a new IGP for a safe Malaysia held in Parliament on Tuesday, 28th July 2009 at 10 am: 

Malaysia needs a new IGP to create a safe Malaysia and break away from colonial past by introducing democratic policing to protect the people and not the regime in power

On December 4, 2008, my motion to censure the Tan Sri Musa Hassan as Inspector-General of Police with a RM10-cut salary motion was defeated by a 48 to 30 votes.

I had moved the motion against Musa on two grounds, viz:

  • For being more of a lobbyist for police mega deals instead of being the police leader to keep crime down and the country safe for Malaysians, tourists and investors; and

  • For the “great lie” that the real crime problem in Malaysia was not worsening crime situation but a problem of misperception.

It is not my purpose to revisit the debate and the undeniable documentary evidence that I produced during the debate in Parliament about Musa lobbying for the RM20 billion Asiacopter proposal to rent out 34 helicopters to the police for 30 years and the RM4.2 billion “E-Police Force Solution” proposal.

In the letter on behalf of Pakatan Rakyat convening this Parliamentary Roundtable on a new IGP for a safe Malaysia, I had given two grounds:

  • Failure of Musa in Key Performance Indicators (KPI) as IGP in the past three years, in all the three core police functions to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and protect human rights. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that under Musa, Malaysians are even more unsafe from street crimes now than when he became IGP in September 5, 2006.

  • The re-appointment of Musa for another term of IGP cast an adverse aspersion on all the senior police officers, as if there is not a single one out of the eight top police officers occupying key police positions below the post of IGP who are qualified or competent enough to become the new IGP to provide a new police leadership and culture to roll back the tide of crime in the past five years.

There is an additional reason. After 52 years as an independent, sovereign parliamentary democracy, the time has come for the Malaysian police make a complete break from the colonial past mentality and embrace democratic policing to protect the people and not the regime in power.

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) 2005 report on “Police Accountability: Too Important to Neglect, Too Urgent to Delay” has rightly stressed:

“Democratic nations need democratic policing. Democratic policing is based on the idea the police are protectors of the rights of citizens and the rule of law, while ensuring the safety and security of all equally. It rejects any resemblance to the regime policing of colonial times. Colonial style policing was based on the idea of police as protectors of a government foreign to the people.”

As the report said, “Increasingly, the fundamental of policing is seen as being the protection and vindication of the human rights of all.”

Such a concept is completely alien to Musa in his three years as IGP – which is why Malaysians, tourists and investors feel even more unsafe now than before he became IGP, losing the two most fundamental human rights in any civilized society –the right to be free from the crime and to be free from the fear of crime.

It is precisely because of the utter lack of understanding and commitment to the concept of democratic policing that there is a grave crisis of confidence in the efficiency, incorruptibility, professionalism of the Malaysian police force.

This has been confirmed by the Home Ministry website poll seeking public feedback as to whether they feel safe from crime in the country.

Right from the beginning, there had been a sustained 97% of those polled who feel unsafe and 95% who hold that their security is not assured.

As at 9.15 am this morning, 97% of 8,761 of 9,044 respondents felt unsafe while only 1% or 76 respondents felt safe. What an indictment of the utter failure of policing 52 years after Merdeka.

Out of 8,320 respondents, 94% or 7,861 felt that the government had not done its best to ensure the safety of the people, while only 2% or 162 felt the government had done its best.

On these two results alone, from the Home Ministry’s own website, any serving IGP should have resigned in ignominy!

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s yesterday announced KPI for street crime, a reduction of the crime rate on the streets by 20 per cent in 2010 as one of the KPIs (key performance indicators) of the six National Key Results Areas (NKRA).

Najib’s KPI for crime prevention to reduce street crime by 20% in 2010 is late by four years and should have covered all categories of crime as proposed by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission in its report in May 2005?

When the Dzaiddin Royal Police Commission submitted its final report in May 2005, it said that Malaysia’s reputation as a safe country was “seriously dented” by the “dramatic increase” in the incidence of crime in the past few years and that “Malaysians in general, the business sector and foreign investors grew increasingly concerned with the situation”.

The Royal Commission warned that “if the trend continues, there would be major social and economic consequences for Malaysia”.

The Royal Police Commission was referring to the “dramatic increase” in the crime index from 121,176 cases in 1997 to 156,455 cases in 2004, which registered an increase of 29 per cent in eight years.

As a result, the Royal Police Commission proposed a sustained nation-wide drive against crime “until crime levels have reached a point considered no longer alarming”, with an immediate target of “a minimum 20 per cent decrease in crimes” in all categories of crime within the first 12 months after the Report.

Instead of achieving the Police Royal Commission’s target of reducing the intolerably high incidence of crime of 156,455 cases in 2004 by 20 per cent in 12 months (i.e. 125,164 cases), the reverse took place.

In the seven years from 1997 to 2004, crime index increased by 29%, but in the four years from 2004 to 2008 crime index increased by 35.5%.

From the latest statistics given in Parliament, crime index have galloped to break the 200,000 mark, with the incidence of crime shooting up to 209,582 in 2007 and 211,645 in 2008.

I had suggested at least five prerequisites for Najib to demonstrate he has the political will to break the back of the problem of endemic crime which has given Malaysia an international notoriety of a nation where citizens, tourists and investors are not safe from crime, viz:

  • Appoint a new Inspector-General of Police to provide new police leadership to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional police service to carry out the three core police functions identified by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Police Commission, viz to keep crime low, to eradicate corruption and to protect human rights.

  • Name the capitals of crime in Malaysia, which will include Johor Baru, Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, and the time-line to get rid of endemic crime in these capitals;

  • Ensure that the Home Minister is personally answerable to Parliament for the war against crime, with a progress report at every parliamentary meeting followed by a debate;

  • Revive and establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as proposed by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission, after suitable amendments; and

  • Establish an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee on Police and Crime to issue half-yearly reports on the police and crime situation in the country.

This Parliamentary Roundtable is the first step to ensure the arrival of democratic policing in Malaysia.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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