Tall order for new IGP Acryl Sani

Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law.

– Barack Obama, 44th US president

Today, May 5, is Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani’s second day in office as the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

A career police officer, the new man at the helm will surely have no problem dealing with his men and women in blue and day-to-day police work.

But how Acryl Sani deals with political bosses as the top gun in Bukit Aman will be carefully watched. So far, nothing much is known about his relationship with politicians.

Although Acryl Sani had also served as the Sarawak Police Commissioner some years ago, our path has never crossed and I do not know him personally. Hence, there is nothing I can comment about his personality, work ethics and character at that level.

But one thing I do know is that a tall order awaits the new IGP. He has his work cut out for him.

Acryl Sani took over as the nation’s top cop at a very difficult period for PDRM (Polis DiRaja Malaysia). He succeeded Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, arguably Malaysia’s most controversial and most popular IGP too.

Already, the legality of Acryl’s appointment as IGP has also been questioned. But I am actually glad it did not go beyond a mere query in the media.

While many prefer Hamid Bador to continue as IGP till the emergency ends in August, I don’t think it’s a good idea as there is already too much bad blood between the IGP and the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

This is a case of a popular police chief unprepared to pander to his unpopular political boss of a very unpopular government. Because politicians, and not civil servants, always have the upper hand, a prolonged clash at the top of PDRM will benefit no one.

We cannot allow discord and disharmony at the top of Bukit Aman to continue unabated as that would be disastrous.

Something tells me that Acryl can expect Hamzah to be breathing down his neck on a regular basis. I hope that common sense will prevail and ministers must acknowledge that department heads usually know better and able to make better judgement calls on matters related to their respective agencies. 

“Political interference” as revealed by Hamid Bador in matters such as the promotion and transfer of police officers must stop. 

Hamzah’s interference has also seen the National Patriots Association (Patriot) demanding that the Hamzah be sacked from the Perikatan Nasional (PN) cabinet.

Patriot described Hamzah’s actions as insulting, insolence and disregarding the statutory functions of the police force.

Even before Acryl Sani has the chance to warm the top seat in Bukit Aman, public expectations of him are already running high. A tall order indeed it is for Acryl and he needs all the support from his men and women in blue, his political bosses and the public.       

I agree that Acryl Sani should continue Hamid’s many “unfinished” tasks. Perhaps he should start by urging the government to establish the long-proposed Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), not the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) that the PN government has proposed.

The many cases of internal corruption, uncovered by Hamid, must also be looked into and probed further by the new IGP. It is very important for him to restore trust in the police force.

Other issues such as death and torture in custody, abuse of power and detention without trial should also be investigated besides cases of corruption.

On Hamid’s allegation that there was corruption among lawmakers who defected, the new IGP must continue to insist the MACC probe such allegations against the political frogs expeditiously and diligently.

This is very serious because the allegation was made by an IGP, which in turn confirms the public perception that the PN government is involved in the buying and selling of politicians to stay in power.

Finally, Hamid also mentioned issues in Sarawak such as smuggling, online gambling and immoral activities. These are serious matters which also require the attention of the new IGP.

What must be noted is that officially, Acryl Sani has only six months to serve before his retirement in October at 60. Whether there will be an extension of service for him is not known at this point.

So far, only Hamid Bador is the only IGP to serve beyond 60. His 11 other predecessors all retired on or before they reached 60.

The 12th IGP’s case was somewhat different as he was recalled to Bukit Aman in 2018 after he had earlier opted for early retirement three years earlier.

Whatever it might be, Acryl Sani deserves all the support he can get from all quarters for as long as he is in the hot seat in Bukit Aman.

We wish him all the very best.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.