Malaysia's police chief claims corruption within senior ranks of force

Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador urges his officers to "come to their senses".
Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador urges his officers to "come to their senses".

Malaysia's retiring police chief Abdul Hamid Bador has caused ripples by alleging corruption among senior ranks of the force.

Ahead of his retirement in May, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Hamid said he knew of former police chiefs using serving officers to do their bidding, though he did not give details.

"I urge my personnel to end this culture and come to their senses. The culture of taking money from the bottom to the top, for the IGP," he was quoted as saying by The Sun Daily newspaper on Monday.

"Even the officers on the ground are afraid to take action because the IGP wants it. This was happening before," according to Tan Sri Hamid, 62.

He claimed that those senior officers who have retired from the force are still trying to enforce their powers in seeking favours from the police.

"It only takes one bad apple to ruin the whole institution, but can you imagine if we had hundreds?" Mr Hamid told The Straits Times yesterday.

"I know there have been some snarky comments saying I should be embarrassed to see so many of my men being nabbed during my tenure. But why should I be? It only means I'm doing my job, which is to cleanse the force, and I need to do it before my time runs out," he said.

While the police force has long been perceived as graft-ridden, the allegations by the standing police chief were explosive.

Mr Hamid was brought back to the police force to head the Special Branch after the Pakatan Harapan's election victory in May 2018.

He was deputy director of the Special Branch in 2015 when he and several top senior government officers were removed for probing the 1MDB case. He was then transferred to the Prime Minister's Department and soon opted for early retirement.

IGP Hamid last Thursday said there is a "cartel" in the police force working to topple him to dominate the institution to allow them to carry out "dirty works" for their personal gain.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said it was the first time he had heard of the claim, and urged the IGP to report the matter to the Police Force Commission.

The stunning claim of long-standing corruption in the force, involving even his predecessor or predecessors, sparked calls for open investigations.

It led critics to revisit the formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission which the force has resisted for years as outsiders would be able to intervene in its affairs.

Democratic Action Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng yesterday called for a Royal Commission of inquiry (RCI), saying the issue was no longer an internal matter. "Only an RCI can clean up the police force from such corrupt elements and salvage the reputation of the majority of police officers and personnel not involved in such nefarious activities," he was quoted as saying by news site Free Malaysia Today.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2021, with the headline Malaysia's police chief claims corruption within senior ranks of force. Subscribe