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Deity of law enforcement?

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That the feelings of the police are so easily hurt by heated remarks is quite amazing, writes Rakyat Jelata.

Three police reports were lodged against Selangor MB Azmin Ali for calling the IGP an Umno lackey (“barua Umno”) (theSun, 7 May 2015).

It appeared to raise the wrath of police associations, which hotly demanded an apology for such rude name-calling. There seems to be such an offence in this country of being “biadap” or rude to the police.

What constitutes being ‘rude’ to these security enforcers seems to depend on the length of their fuses. Some with short fuses, short-circuit at a mere question from anyone.

So one is never sure when or if one is committing an offence when talking to these security officials. They might spring a surprise charge on you for this offence – for any casual remark or question asked depending on the situation.

Azmin Ali, being human, let his emotions run away with him in high excitement and enthusiastic support for the PKR cause during the ceramah in the run-up to the Permatang Pauh by-election.

Politicians, generally, often make emotional, sometimes careless remarks and promises, in the heat of political campaigning, and this was no exception. But the boys in blue seem to react to this statement like ‘touch-me-not’ plants that close their leaves on being lightly brushed by anything.

Moreover, if calling the IGP such names is an insult to the whole force, why does the chairman of the Senior Police Officers Association (instead of the IGP himself) need to demand an apology from the Menteri Besar. Is the IGP not representative of the police force in Malaysia?

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The name-calling seemed to be viewed as ‘sacrilege’ against a haloed ‘deity’, with the officer referring to it being “a sin to do so” and “hitting below the belt”, ending with how ‘hurt’ the whole police force was by Azmin Ali’s comment.

That the feelings of the police are so easily hurt by heated remarks is quite amazing. Worse remarks about the police could be made which would completely demoralise the whole police force in the country, based on the current police reaction.

If the police force is made up of such emotionally fragile persons, then they should perhaps change their occupations to ones more suited to those with sensitive dispositions.

People would expect the police to be by nature tough and capable of withstanding the challenges that come with keeping law and order in the country, including criticism from any quarter.

What should the Rakyat think of an IGP, who shows himself ignorant of citizens’ rights to free expression and freedom of religion under the Federal Constitution – one who has charged so many under the Sedition Act for speeches, opinions and emotional expressions online and offline, which are direct, and wholly innocent in character?

Is this a new unwritten law prohibiting ‘sacrilegious’ remarks against certain government institutions, agencies, ruling party politicians, their relatives and friends, to protect them from current realities?

Even a child who reaches adulthood grapples with the real world in the process of becoming a mature adult. It looks as if the authorities in this country are a long way from achieving political, social and democratic maturity.

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Rakyat Jelata is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to our Thinking Allowed Online section.

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