SPRING cleaning of the police force is underway. The federal police arrested the alleged rotten apples in its barrel and has been lauded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which has encouraged other government departments and agencies dealing with the general public to do the same. MACC calls it “corruption risk management”, and has, in fact, offered to train personnel of all relevant bodies to accomplish this so that all corrupt practices may, ultimately, be eliminated.
Already, 16 police officers and personnel have been arrested for complicity with organised crime and were held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012. More will be brought to court as the cases are uncovered. That the problem is “pervasive” is testified to by those apprehended in Melaka and Penang. There was a swoop of six arrests on Tuesday which saw three high-ranking police officers remanded in the Putrajaya Court yesterday. Two district police chiefs — from the Melaka Tengah and Jasin district headquarters — and an inspector from the state Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Societies Division were remanded for six days.
That the police officers and personnel nabbed included high-ranking officers showed that organised crime has a long reach and is definitely a cause for alarm. The thriving underworld environment of competing gangsters running a black economy could undermine not only the security of the country, but also the economy. Penetration of the legal economy can take several forms including accessing legal projects as a money laundering activity, penetrating the real estate sector and forming criminal monopolies which will all affect development efforts negatively. Research on the Italian Mafia has demonstrated this clearly, more so in countries where the formal economy is not robust enough to withstand the assault.
Acting with the MACC, police have shown their commitment to stamp out the abuse of office within its ranks. Only by doing so can organised crime be crushed before it takes root in this country. And, going by the involvement of those with honorifics attached to their names in organised crime, it would seem that the moral values of the country already counts for little in some quarters. Is it any wonder then, that today’s undergraduates are more amenable to giving and receiving bribes as discovered by an MACC study? Indeed, law enforcement is the primary bastion against criminals of no matter what ilk.
To restore the integrity of the police is the first step in the fight against crime, generally. This “spring cleaning” of the police force will hopefully return the people’s confidence in them as the people who have sworn to an oath to protect and serve the nation with honesty and righteousness.