PETALING JAYA: Former Transparency International Malaysia president Akhbar Satar has called for increased funding for the police force to enable improvement of policemen’s welfare and thereby discourage corruption.
Akhbar, who worked for the now defunct Anti-Corruption Agency for nearly 20 years, told FMT he believed the government should add to the police budget with a focus on improving the living conditions of policemen.
He also suggested that wages be increased and the work environment be improved.
He was commenting on Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Abdul Hamid Bador’s order banning policemen from patronising entertainment outlets.
Hamid spoke of cases of officers receiving bribes in the form of freebies from outlet owners.
Akhbar said better wages and improved living and working conditions would help prevent sabotage and increase productivity.
“If you want people to respect you and be loyal to your organisation, you must take care of their welfare,” he added.
Referring to police quarters, he said funds were needed to maintain them.
In January, FMT reported on the poor condition of police quarters in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, highlighting badly maintained roads among other issues.
Akhbar noted that the IGP had proposed increases in the salaries of low ranking policemen, but he said it would take more than that to fight corruption effectively.
Senior police officers must lead with integrity to win the hearts and minds of their subordinates, he added.
He commended the IGP for speaking publicly against corruption in the police force and officers’ involvement in illegal activities.
“He seems very sincere in fighting corruption,” he said. “Slowly, the public’s confidence and respect for the police will improve.”
Lawyer SN Nair told FMT the IGP did not violate policemen’s rights with his recent order. As a uniformed organisation, he said, the police force was bound by disciplinary rules unique to it.
“Generally, a police officer is deemed to be on duty 24 hours a day,” said Nair, citing Section 19 of the Police Act.