Former Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah’s remarks about the police force during a forum recently was “off the mark”, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said today.
In a statement rebutting Dzaiddin, Khalid insisted that there were more good cops rather than bad cops in the country, and said there were many who would be “willing to give their lives to the nation”.
“To charge us with practicing the unwritten rule of the blue wall of silence in protecting our own kind is preposterous,” Khalid said.
Dzaiddin said in a forum recently that the police’s indifference to the rule of law was the cause of deaths in custody in Malaysia.
Dzaiddin also presided over a Royal Commission of Inquiry on Police Reform in 2004, which recommended the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), one that has not been followed by the police to date.
During his keynote address at the forum titled “Rogue Cops: Workable Solutions – Police Accountability in Malaysia“, Dzaiddin said the lack of training and understanding contributed directly to police’s lack of regard for life, liberty and rule of law.
He added that a comprehensive and widespread reform had to take place to achieve zero-tolerance towards deaths in police custody, stressing the need for the government and civil society to work together.
Khalid, in his response today, said that Dzaiddin’s generalisation that the police were an institution that thinks of itself as being above the law was “uncalled for”.
“Firstly, we have never considered ourselves to be above the law. We view ourselves as mere enforcers of the law, who are at the same time, subject to the same law,” Khalid said.
He said that the force did not deny the existence of a handful of “black sheep” who flout the law but added that they formed only “a minuscule portion” of the police force.
“It cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be termed as “institutional,” he said.
Khalid also said that while many of Dzaiddin’s thoughts warranted introspection by the police, it would also need to “point out flaws” in his arguments for the sake of the force’s good name.
“Our main concern is that, there were times when Dzaiddin was ‘off the mark’ in his speech,” he said.
One of those was Dzaiddin’s remark that the police’s current attitude towards the rule of law is one indifference, to which Khalid said the police were being “harshly judged”.
“We would like Dzaiddin and those with kindred minds, to know that our training modules provide for the basic understanding of human rights and fundamentals rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.”
On the concern raised by Dzaiddin on custodial deaths, Khalid went on to highlight medical reports which state that police officers were only linked to one death out of 51 cases that happened between 2010 and 2014.
“The police and the community are on the same page when it comes to upholding civil liberties and fostering trust between law enforcement and civilians,” he said.
Khalid said police have also embarked on numerous initiatives to reform the force and welcomed efforts from all quarters to help them achieve the goal.
“But criticism that tend to generalise us as an organisation lacking in integrity and honour, is tantamount to a profiling that could stigmatise the force as a corrupt institution.”
He added that for every officer who harmed someone or violated the public’s trust, there were countless others who followed the rules and who wanted nothing more than to protect, serve and return home safe at the end of their shift. – June 4, 2015.
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