Civil society groups backed Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador for calling a spade a spade when he openly criticised Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin for interfering in police matters.
In an interview with editors at Bukit Aman yesterday, the IGP warned the country was on a slippery slope if politicians didn’t stop meddling and interfering in matters concerning the police force.
Capt Dr Wong Ang Peng of the National Patriots Association (Patriot) told The Malaysian Insight that even though Hamzah is the chairman of the Police Force Commission, he is not the sole decision-maker.
He also slammed Hamzah, who is also the Bersatu secretary-general for referring to senior police officers as “budak-budak” or his boys.
“You have to respect the IGP. He knows his men and women in the force more than you do. You politicians come and go. Hamid has been in the force for 30 years,” Wong said.
“He knows who to appoint. It is also disrespectful to refer to senior police officers as ‘boys’. These men are not your boys.
“They have their own discipline and they work for the king and country. Not for politicians.”
Suara Rakyat Malaysia executive director, Sevan Doraisamy said Hamzah’s admission showed Perikatan Nasional is more interested in holding onto power rather than being transparent.
“Hamzah clearly showed that PN only wants power rather than reforming the police force. This is not how a senior minister should behave,” said Sevan.
In a press conference, Hamid trained his guns on Hamzah, who he said had overstepped his boundary in interfering in police matters.
He was referring to the recent promotion and transfer exercise involving senior police officers, which the home minister had allegedly stopped.
“A minister cannot interfere in the affairs of the police force. The minister is only empowered to set policies.”
Meanwhile, Bersih 2.0 in a statement urged Putrajaya to review and improve the process of appointing the inspector-general of police to increase police integrity.
The electoral watchdog suggested the Police Force Commission form an advisory assessment panel that will nominate three candidates to the commission to ensure transparency.
“Bersih 2.0 expresses concerns over Hamzah’s conversation with an unknown individual to discuss the candidate for the IGP position.
“This is very concerning as the decision should be made by the commission, based on objective criteria and not whether the person is ‘our boy’ as the IGP must carry out his duties professionally and not take sides with any party.
“We suggest the commission to form an advisory assessment panel where the commission will then select a candidate and submit his name to the Parliamentary Select Committee for approval,” said Bersih 2.0.
Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (EDICT) spokesman Khalid Istmath mirrored Patriot’s sentiment, saying politicians must not meddle in the appointment of police officers.
“We back Hamid for calling a spade a spade. There should be no interference from any politician, especially in the appointment of senior police officers.
“We reject such action and we condemn Hamzah for admitting it,” said Khalid. – TMI