There is now controversy whether the Inspector-General of Police has unfettered power to appoint State Chief Police Officers (CPOs) and whether it is the Home Minister, Hamzah Zainuddin, in his capacity as chairman of the Police Force Commission, who is politically interfering in the matter by usurping the powers and functions of the IGP on the appointment of the State CPOs.
In a recorded phone call, which the Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin has admitted was his voice and that there was nothing wrong with the phone call, Hamzah reiterated his position that as chairperson of the Police Force Commission, he is responsible for the promotion and placement of police officers, including the appointment of State CPOs.
In the recording that began circulating a few days ago, Hamzah could be heard giving support to someone he referred to as “our boy” from Ipoh whose promotion will be “very good for us”.
“Do you want it if I give our boy… promote him? And he is a Perakian, Ipoh boy. Tuanku would surely like him,” he said. The identity of the person Hamzah was referring to is not known.
In the clip, Hamzah could also be heard speaking about an unknown person who is no longer allowed to decide appointments of Bukit Aman department directors and state police chiefs.
“Of course… that is why I will choose who. I know who Tuanku would be okay with and such.
“Now we want to decide on directors. Because I have taken over, I told him that you cannot have choices. You can give names, let’s say five people, let me know and we will decide.
“It is not for you to decide anymore like before. All state police chiefs you cannot decide,” Hamzah said in the clip.
This important matter needs to be resolved.
The longest-serving IGP from 1974-1994, Tun Hanif Omar Hanif said the Police Act gave the IGP the sole power to “command and control” the force, and the Home Minister as Chairman of the Police force Commission (SPP), had no such authority.
“While the SPP has its purpose as stated by the law minister, it does not include the running of the police force.” he said.
But Hamzah has the full backing of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Deparmtent (Parliament and Law), Takiyuddin Hassan, who is also the PAS Secretary-General.
Yesterday, Takiyuddin ganged up with the Home Minister to give a perverted interpretation of Article 140 of the Malaysian Constitution, claiming that it “stipulated that the SPP oversaw matters related to promotions, discipline, welfare and other matters concerning police personnel” – in an apparent response to outgoing IGP Abdul Hamid Bador’s criticism of Hamzah’s interference in police matters.
Hanif said that in his 20 years as the IGP, he had no problems with his three ministers or the SPP – Ghazalie Shafie, Musa Hitam and Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
None of his ministers, he said, had tried to interfere in the running of the force, and the SPP and its chairman kept strictly to their constitutional functions.
“Therefore, the SPP, as presently constituted, can work if everybody stays within their legal parameters.”
Article 40 of the Malaysian Constitution stipulates:
“140. (1) There shall be a Police Force Commission whose jurisdiction shall extend to all persons who are members of the police force and which, subject to the provisions of any existing law, shall be responsible for the appointment, confirmation, emplacement on the permanent or pensionable establishment, promotion, transfer and exercise of disciplinary control over members of the police force:
Provided that Parliament may by law provide for the exercise of such disciplinary control over all or any of the members of the police force in such manner and by such authority as may be provided in that law, and in that event, if the authority is other than the Commission, the disciplinary control exercisable by such authority shall not be exercised by the Commission; and no provision of such law shall be invalid on the ground of inconsistency with any provision of this Part.”
Former Bar President, Zainur Zakaria said the law minister must have overlooked Article 140(7) of the Federal Constitution, which reads:”7. In this Article ‘transfer’ does not include transfer without change of rank within the police force.”
Zainur Zakaria said Takiyuddin was giving an ”inaccurate” interpretation of the Malaysian Constitution as under Article 140(7) of the Constitution, the commission does not have such power to determine who should be a State CPO if it does not involve promotion or demotion in rank.
He said: “This means the IGP can transfer police officers without referring to the commission where such postings do not affect any change of rank.”
Following revelations by Abdul Hamid Bador, former top cops said there was no political interference in the police force in the past, not even in the promotions of officers.
Ex Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director Zaman Khan told The Malaysian Insight that all decisions in the police force then were decided by a committee headed by the Inspector-General of Police.
“During my time there was no interference. All promotions of police officers, from ASP and above, were made by a committee chaired by the IGP and his deputy.
“There were four directors and I was one of them. We sit in a conference room and we discuss the promotion of police officers.
“There will not be interference from any politicians and those who will get promoted will be screened, and even the anti-graft body will conduct a background check,” said Zaman.
Halim Ishak, a former elite police officer attached to the VAT69, mirrored Zaman’s sentiment.
Halim, who now chairs the Malaysian Community Care Foundation (MCCF) said if there was any interference, the involvement was not as serious.
“I do not think so, if there was, it was not as bad as now. It did not involve the promotion of (the) IGP or his deputy or senior police officers,” he said.
Halim suggested that politicians must stay out of the police commission force as the body needs to be free from any political influence.
“No minister should sit in the committee because the police need to be free from political influence,” said Halim.
Halim then questioned why the prime minister and the chief secretary to the government have not made any statement over the issue.
I call on all the seven living ex-IGPs to speak up whether they had faced political interference in appointing State CPOs. Hanif Omar, the longest-servintg IGP, has spoken up.
Let us hear from the other six living ex-IGPs, namely:
Also let the nine living ex-Home Ministers speak up whether as Chairman of the Police Commission, they had interfered with the appointment of State CPOs or whether they had left it entirely to the discretion of the then IGP. The living ex-Home Ministers are: