Sunday, January 6, 2013
MyWatch patron Musa Hassan is optimistic that the police force will eventually improve.
PETALING JAYA: Former Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan has come under attack from several quarters for his recent revelations about corruption in the force, political interference in its work, and criminal elements infiltrating it at the highest levels.
The government has ignored his allegations, and his successor, Ismail Omar, has dismissed his claims as “unimportant”.
However, the patron of anti-crime watchdog MyWatch said he remained optimistic that his exposes, which he claimed were aimed at improving the police force, would bear fruit.
“You shouldn’t be downhearted when people don’t want to listen,” he told FMT in an exclusive interview. “We still have to tell the truth.”
Musa spoke well of Ismail’s deputy, Khalid Abu Bakar, calling him a “capable leader”. But he dismissed a suggestion that he was ganging up with Khalid to overthrow Ismail.
When asked whether there had been attempts by the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak or Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to meet him, Musa said no political leaders had met him.
In a new year message to Malaysians, Musa said: “I hope this country will prosper, and there won’t be any political problems. I hope the police will improve themselves. People are now more aware of integrity. That’s a good sign. All agencies should be of high integrity, and avoid themselves from being corrupted, that’s the wishes of the people, and that’s my wish also.”
MyWatch chairman R Sri Sanjeevan, who was with Musa during the interview, said the organisation’s objective was to make Malaysia crime-free society, adding that this required good leadership in the police force.
Excerpts from the interview
The IGP reportedly said that what you said was not important. Don’t you feel like all your criticisms and efforts are falling on deaf ears?
Sanjeevan: No, no, no. We will keep on trying
Musa: We shouldn’t be downhearted when people don’t want to listen to us. We still have to tell the truth.
Sanjeevan: Changes don’t happen overnight.
Previously, you were saying that Ismail Omar should be tougher, he shouldn’t be a yes man and perhaps he should be standing up against this political interference that you have mentioned. What do you think of his leadership? Do you think that he should resign?
Musa: That is not for me to say. That is up to the minister, you know, because he calls the shots on whether a person continues or not.
Another thing is that I see Ismail [as] only a ceremonial IGP. He would only attend ceremonies. When there is real problem, he won’t be there. He would get his deputy to do it.
He should be involved as an IGP. If there is any problem happening on the ground, he should be there.
But Ismail Omar has been going down on the ground with high profile policing, together with top ranking people. Don’t you think that is very good?
Musa: Well you can go high profile policing. No doubt that is very good, but you only go at one time. What’s the follow up after that? It needs follow up. You don’t just go where people prepare for you to meet the public, meet them, shake hands with them. And then you go back. So what’s the follow up?
Was it different during your time? You stayed back?
Musa: Yes we stayed back. We had discussions with them, and then we had follow up. I gave my phone number, where they can call me.
On reports about Ismail Omar’s comments that these issues are unimportant…
Musa: How can he say that? As an IGP, if you say that the comment by the public are unimportant, there is something wrong. It means you did not take cognisance of the importance of what the public is saying.
So you are saying there is a lack of engagement even though they seem to be quite aggressive with the PR campaign.
Musa: PR campaign is different. But the actual engagement is important. How do you have dialogues with the people? I myself had dialogues in the districts … so I have first hand information from the people on the ground.
Doesn’t Ismail Omar do that?
Musa: That I don’t know. I’ve done my part when I was in service. Now he has to do his part.
Do you think that Tan Sri Khalid is a better person to lead the PDRM?
Musa: Tan Sri Khalid is a person who can make decisions. I think he can lead the police force.
Do you think Khalid should replace Ismail Omar? Or do you see other officers taking up that post?
Musa: I can’t say that. That’s up to the minister again. Of course, it is not me who put people there. It is up to the political masters.
OK, but you are saying Khalid is a capable person?
Musa: Yes he is a capable person.
More capable [than Ismail]?
Musa: No, but the way he speaks to the press—that’s how people want to see a leader. Talking, giving advice and all that.
Some have said he is more hands on.
Musa: Yeah, he should be hands on.
And Ismail Omar? Is he hands off?
Musa: I don’t know. You have to ask him.
Given what you have said about Tan Sri Khalid, I’m sure the public will speculate—is Musa Hassan coming up with MyWatch because he is ganging up with Khalid to overthrow Ismail?
Musa: No, no, no. I won’t be controlling the police. I won’t be influencing them. I will only assist in information so that the public would have more confidence. That’s why I don’t attend police functions.
Talking about influencing the police, a lot of your exposes so far have been about political interference, criminal elements infiltrating the force.
Musa: There are people close to people in power, who can influence certain police officers. They just go to certain police officers saying, “Oh, my boss wants this to be done.” That’s no good.
You are talking about politicians, or…
Musa: Anybody. Not only politicians [or] those who have influence. It can even come from the middleman of kingpins.
And you are saying this from information or this is just your guesswork, or…
Musa: Not information, through experience.
During your time, you’ve maintained, you’ve always turned down these interferences. Because people are saying, “What did you do during your time?”
Musa: Yes, I’ve turned them down. I’ve turned them down.
Can you tell us more? Now you’re giving us some teasers, some anecdotes, but where are we bringing this information to? What is your next plan of action? What is your end game? Are you planning to bring this up to court? What are the plans of MyWatch?
Musa: As I’ve said before, we will work together with the police, to take action, so that whoever is influencing the police won’t have any deals with the police.
You are still so very positive, but it seems that it’s very silent on the other end. The IGP, the PM, home minister. They have not actually addressed all these issues.
Musa: The members of the public have the right to know what happened to information they have given.
You have told people that this is happening, but there seems to be still silence from the government.
Musa: I don’t know why they are still silent
Sanjeevan: It used to be two people voicing out. Now we have a lot of Malaysians voicing. In time to come, police will respond to us.
You believe that?
Sanjeevan: Yes, I strongly believe that.
Tan Sri, have you ever tried to meet with Ismail Omar and talk about these issues that you are raising now?
Musa: Well, I don’t have the chance to talk to him because whenever we meet, even in public, he just walks away from me.
Why do you think that is so?
Musa: I don’t know. Maybe they think I am no longer relevant.