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Malaysia’s PDRM law unto itself: Open letter to country's IG of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah

By Jeswan Kaur* 

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” but this profound understanding is lost on Malaysia’s police force, Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).
In 2020, I stepped into the office of a senior police officer, Masrol Riadi, to discuss my case (a criminal intimidation matter) and his first words were “Mata kamu mengsteamkan” which in English would mean “your eyes arouse me.”
That was the first red flag I noticed. Then came the good morning messages and videos. My reprimanding him did not help nor did my reminding Masrol that I could report him for sexual harassment.
I made my way to the city’s top cop and demanded an explanation as to how the police would deal with such lecherous officer and who had messed up my case.
I was assured the cop concerned would be rebuked. I was then told to lodge a report against him with ASP Nori Mt from the Disciplinary Unit.
It did not take me long to realise that ASP Nori was a diva in disguise and loved every bit of attention coming her way as seen through the pictures she constantly posted on her WhatsApp status. Whilst the public was threatened with a fine if they refused to wear the face mask during lockdown, she was all over the place without a face mask.
When I requested that she set a good example as a cop, ASP Nori blocked my number.
As for my earlier case, that involving criminal intimidation, I was referred to an ASP Noor Zarini.
Mr IGP, all three cops I dealt with had no qualms behaving as if they are above the law. Noor Zarini like Nori never bothered updating me about my case as perhaps a VIP’s case “carried more weight”.
My last WhatsApp communication with Noor Zarini dated August 1, 2022 went: “Puan ASP, what’s happening to my case?”. Her reply: “hi good morning mem. Lama I tak update dengan you…minta maaf…disebabkan sibuk dgn tugas baru saya ini.”
(She apologised for not updating me as she was busy with her new responsibility).
When I responded “That’s no excuse. Its’s a serious matter,” Noor Zarini blocked my number.
Mr IGP, I spent hours going back and forth the police station because your officers in blue were incompetent and irresponsible. Yet, I remained determined to seek redress for my case and am still waiting.
I noticed a similar “couldn’t care less” attitude at the Sexual Women and Children’s Investigation Division (D11) with officers like Sergeant Nurhafezah.
Mr IGP, is this your idea of all is well with PDRM?

IPCMC a collateral damage

For the longest time, 17 years now, repeated calls were made to reform PDRM but none saw the light of day.
PDRM’s notoriety remains uncanny, from custodial deaths to rape and nude squats in police lock-ups. That the image of the police force desperately begs rehabilitation is an understatement.
Yet, the powers that be found no reason for alarm and decided all is well with PDRM.
Had this been true, Meta would have no basis to accuse PDRM of masterminding a troll farm designed to “corrupt or manipulate public discourse.”
In its Adversarial Threat Report for the Second Quarter of 2022 released last month, Meta exposed Malaysia's police force as the hand behind the troll farm.
The Meta revelations about individuals behind the PDRM troll farm say they were active on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, they posted memes in Malay, supported the current government coalition and made claims of corruption amongst the current Barisan Nasional’s critics.
They also created Facebook Pages that posed as independent news entities and promoted police while criticising the opposition.
(PDRM enforces the laws of the country, including the Internet. In fact, they have a Cyber & Multimedia Criminal Investigation Unit under the Commercial Crime Investigation Department. It works together with the National Cyber Security Agency [NACSA] to tackle cybersecurity threats, and these would include malicious influence campaigns).
Soon after Meta's bombshell disclosure, PDRM through its secretary Noorsiah Mohd Saaduddin whilst denying the police's involvement inch unscrupulous acts, said it took the allegations seriously and was in the midst of collecting information about them.
PDRM's slapdash reaction to the allegations was no move in the right direction. How did PDRM conclude that the force is "clean" when information gathering was still on-going?
To abdicate responsibility over wrongdoings has been the way of life for Malaysian government agencies and PDRM is no exception. I, Mr IGP, am among those who can bear witness to this.

IPCMC saw no light of day

Transparency International Malaysia in a letter to editor last year bemoaned the lack of political will to put in place the much pleaded for Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
(The IPCMC was mooted by the Royal Commission to enhance the Operation and Management of PDRM, headed by former chief justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah in 2005, the objective being to improve oversight and allow independent investigation and punishment for errant, abusive and corrupt officers across the rank and file._
IPCMC sadly never saw the light of day during the reign of the Barisan Nasional government.
A glimmer of hope came the country's way when the Pakatan Harapan government tabled the IPCMC Bill in 2019 only to have it deferred for review by a parliamentary select committee due to "lack of consultation".
The death knell came when the Pakatan Harapan administration collapsed in February 2020. Its successor, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, was more concerned about securing vote banks to secure power. It got rid of IPCMC and replaced it with a watered down Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill.
Then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin nonchalantly tabled the IPCC Bill in Dewan Rakyat on August 26, 2020. He was soon shown the door and replaced by an equally incompetent and unscrupulous premier, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who decided best to go with the flow vis-à-vis the feeble IPCC Bill.
The IPCMC saga spanned 17 years, rejected each time by all four governments and five prime ministers. The seven inspector-generals of police that came and went were at best hapless as the IPCMC suffered four name changes .
Transparency International Malaysia went through a similar anguish when its repeated calls for the IPCMC to be enforced were dismissed.
Last year inspector-general of police Abdul Hamid Bador revealed a police culture of corruption among police personnel. Now, news of a PDRM-operated troll farm has added more fuel to the raging fire that all is definitely not well with PDRM.
Ti-Malaysia president Dr Muhammad Mohan then said it was shocking there were cartels within PDRM who both protected and colluded with criminal organisations and individuals and remained powerful enough to throttle the inspector-general of police's position and hamper his efforts to investigate them.
Equally frustrated was Johor police chief Ayob Khan who was reported as saying he would charge errant police officers in court instead of referring them to PDRM’s Integrity Department (Jips) with regards to these officers’ misconduct.
Then there was news that a purported whistleblower who had revealed names of police personnel said to be involved in abuse of power, protecting, abetting, conspiring and accepting bribes from the syndicates (such as Nicky Liow and Addy Kana) was arrested.
Mr IGP, had I not been a journalist would you thrash my “revelation” that PDRM has become a law unto itself?
Is silencing the common voice the easy and safe way out for PDRM?
---
*Journalist based in Malaysia

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