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Sanjeevan assassination attempt: Big elephant in the room

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What has become of our country? How much longer should Malaysians live in such insecurity, wonders Steven Sim.

R Sri Sanjeevan
R Sri Sanjeevan

The country is shocked by the cold blooded murder attempt on crime watchdog founder R Sri Sanjeevan. It’s almost like a drama – a motorbike pulled over beside Sanjeevan’s car, and shot him at point blank.

What has become of our country?

We are all living under constant fear and yet, not until a Minister’s house is ransacked by robbers or a high profile case like Sanjeevan’s (who is by the way, still in hospital under critical care), that the issue of crime gets the attention of the government.

It has been too long! How much longer should Malaysians be living in such insecurity? We want a better, more professional police force. There is no other way around this.

Below is a press statement I issued:

Government years of abuse led to a culture of corruption within PDRM

The cold blooded assassination attempt on R Sri Sanjeevan, chairman of crime watch NGO MyWatch, is yet another sign of the major elephant in the room which the federal government chooses to ignore – the state of lawlessness prevailing in our country.

Sanjeevan, now in critical condition after being shot at gunpoint, had once disputed why the crime index does not include major criminal cases such as kidnapping, extortion, car theft and others. Sanjeevan had also exposed the alleged involvement of police officers in organised crime syndicates. In fact, former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Musa Hassan said that the assassination attempt may be linked to Sanjeevan’s revelation against the rogue cops.

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Outside intervention of PDRM work not new

Such revelation is not new; previously, former Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Ramli Yusuff shocked the country with the so-called “Copgate” exposé, where senior police officers, including Musa Hassan himself, and the Attorney-General’s office were alleged to be colluding with underworld kingpins.

Musa Hassan himself had said that the government including Cabinet Ministers often intervened into police work, presumably for their own personal and political interest.

All these are very serious allegations but so far, nothing substantial seems to be done. When I raised the scandalous exposé by Musa Hassan on government intervention during the last Parliamentary sitting, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim merely brushed off my question and justified that intervention merely means “asking help from the police”. The Minister even said that since Musa Hassan is no longer the IGP; hence what he said about the force cannot be accepted. Such attitude is prevalent in the government, demonstrating a lack of commitment on their part to resolve this matter.

The government wants to maintain a politicised police force

The problem is obvious, our police force is not independent. Because of the government’s years of abuse of the police force, there exists a persistent culture of corruption within, thus rendering our police inefficient. In order to subject the police to do their political biddings, the government chose to close an eye to the problem of corruption within the force itself. In other words, it is in the government’s narrow political interest to keep the police force corrupted.

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I believe there are still many good cops who are frustrated with the current situation and wish to restore the dignity of the police force. The only way forward is to re-establish police independence. And this cannot be done by half-baked reforms such as the toothless tiger Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC) which itself is a tainted organisation.

What is needed is a reform at the scale recommended by the 2005 Tun Dzaiddin Royal Commission Report, which includes the formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). And I have on numerous occasion proposed an amendment to the IPCMC to include the power to decide on the promotion of police. This is so that, 1) the reform is not merely seen as a punitive one to the police force, but also one which rewards good cops, and 2) job promotions within the force should be independently implemented and not subjected to political intervention.

Malaysia is not China, we do not need a politicised police force to guard the interests of the ruling party. What we want is a professional police force which is able to safeguard the safety and security of all Malaysians.

Steven Sim Chee Keong is the MP for Bukit Mertajam

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