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The Twitter King’s unfinished business

 | September 6, 2017

Deaths in custody and the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh and a host of others are just some of Khalid Abu Bakar's unfinished business.

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When the tenure of both the chief justice and the president of the court of appeal were extended, there was speculation that Khalid Abu Bakar, the former inspector-general of police (IGP), would also have his term renewed, despite turning 60.

Was Khalid forced into retirement because there were better candidates to fill the job of IGP? Was it because he was an unpopular figure, and public confidence in the country’s police force (PDRM) had dipped since he took office? Was it because he was a failure?

In his farewell speech, Khalid said that he had no unfinished business.

How can that be when there is much that his successor still has to correct?

Khalid expressed his gratitude to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, for his support and trust. He said, “Working as a police officer is noble work in the jihad (struggle) for Allah. I had given my all and held on to loyalty.”

To say that his job is “noble work in the jihad for Allah” is contentious. Some people will say that he was loyal to the prime minister and Umno, but not to the rakyat.

If he had said his noble work was to uphold justice, or to uphold law and order, it would have been perfectly acceptable. To include both religion and jihad is misleading. Many people have a different view of jihad. Besides, all religions preach justice.

Khalid mentioned loyalty, but loyalty is meaningless if one is loyal for the wrong reasons. A gang member is more loyal and shows more respect to his gang leader than he does to his parents, or the law.

The badge Khalid once wore, is symbolic. It carries a heavy responsibility. The job of IGP can be rewarding, but only if it is carried out without fear or favour. The IGP’s ultimate task is to protect good people and to lock up the bad ones. His main responsibility is to make Malaysia safe, and not arbitrarily arrest opposition politicians, social activists, social media users and cartoonists.

Two memorable incidents occurred, when Khalid was the Chief Police Officer for Selangor, and before he became the IGP. The death in custody of A Kugan, whom the PDRM said died of asthma and “sudden death”. The brutal shooting of teenager Aminulrasyid Amzah, because he took his sister’s car for a joy ride, is another travesty of justice.

When ushering in the New Year in 2014, Khalid said he welcomed the re-introduction of the ISA because he believed it would improve internal security and public order.

How does he explain the unfinished business of the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh, Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth?

Around the world, CCTV is used to help solve crimes. Despite the heavy use of CCTV in Malaysia, we are told that many of them do not work or are switched off. These excuses were used in the botched investigations of Teoh Beng Hock, Pastor Koh and Ahmad Sarbani.

Is law enforcement a selective process? CCTV was crucial in unraveling the Kim Jong Nam assassination. The alleged killers were found within a few days of the assassination. CCTV also revealed that the “real” perpetrators had fled Malaysia.

As we welcome the new IGP, we would like to reiterate that the Malaysian public is not the enemy. We wish to clean-up our police force, as we are alarmed that certain policemen are on good terms with gang members, who are involved in illegal gambling and prostitution syndicates.

Amongst other things, we hope that under the leadership of the new IGP, there will be an end to custodial deaths, and the speedy implementation of an independent police commission to improve justice and police accountability.

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


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