KUCHING: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and ombudsmen have a role to play in eradicating corruption in the police force, said Rise of Sarawak Efforts (ROSE) chairwoman Ann Teo yesterday.
She told New Sarawak Tribune this when commenting on Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador’s statement that priority would be given to the lower ranked police personnel’s salaries, logistics and requirements in efforts to enhance the integrity of the police force.
She said that it was a good suggestion from the new IGP, adding that if the lower ranked police personnel were renumerated well, then technically this should reduce the temptation to practise corruption or take bribes.
“However, corruption must be tackled more holistically and not just through a single measure like what was proposed.
“A more holistic approach in tackling corruption includes effective enforcement.
“This is where the MACC and the ombudsmen come in,” she added.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) senior lecturer Dr Lee Kuok Tiung pointed out that the IGP’s reasons for the proposal made sense as urbanisation had cause urban poverty.
“We have what is called the ‘M-shaped society’; its needs must be addressed carefully.”
“When the incomes are not able to meet their needs, the police personnel will either intentionally or unintentionally get involved in wrongdoings that could jeopardise their integrity and accountability,” he said.
Dr Lee pointed out that compared to the urban areas, in rural areas, the rentals, goods and services were cheaper.
“Almost everything is cheaper as the residents do not need to pay parking fees, toll and other things.”
Dr Lee also pointed out that the attitude of an individual, not the environment, ethnic nor religion. would also make a difference.
External communication executive Loqman Hakim Supian, who is based in Kuala Lumpur, commented that it was wise of the IGP to propose a rise in the salaries of the lower-ranked police personnel.
“Work is hard for the lower-ranked policemen. I do not think it will reduce crime as it is not related but maybe it will reduce corruption since police personnel may be bribed by crime offenders,” he said.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) lecturer Dick Lembang Dugun said it was good to raise the salaries of the lower-ranked police personnel because of the rising cost of living.
“It is not about reducing crime or corruption. The government should raise the salaries of all civil servants because of the increasing cost of living,” he said.
He added that in the police department, it was important to inculcate good ethics and good governance values among the police personnel.
“During the recruitment of staff for all government departments, especially the police, there should be ethics and good governance tests.
“Penalties must be imposed when they breach the ethics and good governance values. This method may help reduce corruption among the civil servants, especially police personnel,” he stated.
Dick hoped the government would make it compulsory for all civil servants including police personnel to attend courses on ethics and good governance.
Engineer Muhammad Mazasry Medani agreed with the IGP’s proposal to raise the salaries of the lower-ranked police personnel.
“They have to face a lot of risks every single day in order to keep us safe.
“I am sure most people feel the pressure of the rising cost of living and I think that the lower-ranked police personnel are the ones most affected by it,” he said.
Muhammad pointed out that increasing their salaries would motivate the police personnel, improve their productivity and reduce corruption.
A policeman’s son, who preferred to known only as Amirul, said he understood the daily dangers and risks that his father had to face in the course of his job.
“The IGP’s proposal to increase the salaries of the lower-ranked police personnel does alleviate certain difficulties in their lives,” he said.
“Living in the cities, raising kids, high cost of living and facing risks daily. These are the challenges a policeman faces,” he added.
“Comments I have read on social media describe this move by the IGP as “somewhat pathetic” as saying “no” to bribery is the bare minimum for any police officer and that the public just cannot accept that the policeman gets a raise for just doing that.”
Amirul added that being uniformed servicemen, military, police and firefighters were jobs that only the chosen ones would do and ask nothing in return for the sake of the people and the country’s flag.
“We always ask what our country can do for us but we never really ask what we can do for our country.
“We expect the best, honest and top quality service but we never really ask what it feels like doing all those tough jobs,” he said.