The Malaysian police have arrested 16 of their own officers from the anti-narcotics department, with more arrests expected soon, for allegedly protecting the drug syndicates they were meant to be investigating, senior officials said yesterday.
The policemen, who included a deputy superintendent and an inspector, were recently nabbed under a tough security law called Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim told The Straits Times that he expected to see more arrests after the police uncovered the alleged involvement of these officers in drug syndicates, and with links to a group called Gang 36. "At the moment, the figure is still 16 but I'm positive that it will change once another swoop takes place. We're doing this to get rid of the bad apples in the force," he said over the phone yesterday.
Those nabbed were suspected of shielding these syndicates from the police, including passing on information about upcoming raids.
A major reshuffle of the anti-narcotics department is expected following the arrests. Tan Sri Noor Rashid said the reshuffle could take place any time.
When contacted, the Federal Integrity and Standard Compliance director, Commissioner Abdul Ghafar Rajab, said: "We have ordered those who are currently being probed for their alleged involvement to stop work. They will be receiving half of their salary until their acquittal or conviction."
If acquitted, they would be reinstated in their former positions or transferred out. But if convicted, he said: "We will decide if they should be sacked based on the severity of their crimes. It will be measured on how severely our image has been tarnished because of them."
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on Saturday that the swoop was done to rid corrupt practices in the force, according to the New Straits Times newspaper.