INSPECTOR-GENERAL of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador has begun with a bang. Just 19 days into his office, he tells some of his officers: cut ties with criminals or else... Experts say change must begin within for it to have a lasting effect.
Hamid could not have started at a better place. There is no place like within to tackle a scourge as dangerous as corruption.
Corruption of one sort or the other does rear its ugly head in the police force every now and then.
The most recent high-profile case was when Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officers arrested a police station chief and two policemen in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur, for allegedly protecting a massage centre that provided sex services.
The IGP’s words to some of his men in blue — “As long as you haven’t worn the orange jumpsuit yet, then you still have time” — are set to go down in history as one of the most quotable quotes to be ever issued by a top cop.
For change to last, it must also be national in nature, says the ninth IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar.
We agree. The police force is but one section of society, a critical one, though.
By national, Ismail, who was a top cop between September 2010 and September 2013, says corruption cannot be just a problem for the police force to solve.
The former top cop has a point: a clean police force may not be able to remain clean in a corrupt society.
To Ismail, corruption is a “black sheep” problem. Like the recessive black gene in a family of largely white sheep, there will always be miscreants in any organisation.
The police force is no exception. Corruption, like many things in life, comes with an equation: there is a giver and there is a taker.
Snuffing out the taker doesn’t guarantee the end of corruption. The giver, too, must be choked out of existence. If mathematics ever taught us anything, this must be one of them.
Ismail, who is chairman of New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd, says a good national long-term plan is the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) drawn up by the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption covering a gamut of sectors: politics, public procurement, law enforcement, public sector administration, judiciary and corporate governance.
The good thing about the NACP is it is not only national in character, but also ropes in the state and local authorities in surfacing plans of their own to put an end to this scourge. No one is an island when it comes to prevention of corruption.
While efforts are made at the national level, police officers need to change a thing or two themselves.
Lifestyle change is a critical one, says the former IGP. Living within one’s means is the best policy.
There is dignity in a moderate lifestyle. And pride, too. Many men and women have fallen from dignity because of the promise of a life of luxury.
This is an abject lesson for all, not only the police.