There is an old Chinese saying which goes like this, Shang liang bu zheng xia liang wai which when literally translated, means, “If the upper beam is not straight, the lower beam will be crooked”.
It denotes that subordinates imitate their superiors’ vices.
In short, a dishonest and corrupt leader will also be surrounded with dishonest and corrupt subordinates.
Like flies and maggots, even good food will turn bad and rotten in their presence and the whole room will stink in no time due to the rapid decomposition.
Same for a country, with regard to law and order.
As I am writing this article, there are reports that ex-police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar will be hauled in for questioning over his alleged role in tipping off Najib over the former AG Tan Sri Datuk Seri Abdul Gani Patail’s charge sheet which could then potentially put the ex-PM’s political leadership in jeopardy.
Khalid was the same Inspector-General of the Royal Malaysian Police who dismissed the Auditor-General’s findings of 44 missing pieces of firearms which were unaccounted for as “not fallen into the wrong hands” but could have “fallen into the sea”.
Would you believe that?
We are talking about firearms, not toy guns.
That statement from the highest ranking police officer had, in a large way, tarnished the image and credibility of the whole police force.
If they can’t even look after or keep track of their firearms, what confidence does the rakyat have of them, as the arm of the law?
Where’s the discipline and “zero tolerance” for non-compliance?
Respect – something which our men in blue had earned through their illustrious predecessors’ sacrifices during our nation’s turbulent times – pre- and post-independence.
Indeed there was much admiration and deep respect for these selfless heroes who gave life and limb in their service to the nation.
There’s a joke that the policemen of old could easily outrun any criminals while many of today’s criminals would easily outrun our overweight and unfit policemen.
In short, it should be police chasing thieves and not vice-versa.
Alas, complacency and comfort had appeared to take the shine out of our men in blue, no thanks to the bad apples within the organisation – with allegations of bribery, brutality and discrimination in the course of discharging their duties, with due respect to the diligent and dedicated ones.
Without fear or favour had been translated into fear and favour, especially during the previous Umno-BN regime.
But hope is in sight.
Thank God that change did come during GE14 and justice rightly served on the corrupt and others who abused their power, including those in the law-enforcement agencies.
Great injustice was also done to the few good men with conscience who braved danger in the course of discharging their duties.
May they be redeemed and rewarded accordingly.
Dr Mahathir had pledged that the new Pakatan Harapan government will govern based on the rule of law.
Yes – rule of law, a cardinal principle of our Rukunegara.
Very commendable indeed but the tough journey had just begun with a massive cleaning-up in progress.
It does need reminding that the rule of law is as good as the arm of the law – both are dependent on each other.
Good law enforcement happens when people feel safe in and outside their homes.
It happens when there is adequate “police presence” in the community.
It happens when there is mutual trust between people and the law enforcers.
It happens when criminals think twice before breaking the law, knowing that they will be caught, that crime does not pay.
We look forward to the day when people respect the law and the law enforcers earn their respect not to break the law.
That’s what we believe Malaysia Baru is about.
It’s about people’s empowerment and respect for the Polis Di Raja Malaysia, not “Polis, Raja Di Malaysia” earned, not demanded.
All said, we will hold on to that hope. It will happen, obviously, as a new dawn awaits us.