Malaysia's police force to be restructured, elite units likely scrapped: Police chief

Malaysian police officers line up to vote in the country's 14th general election at the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on May 9, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun has confirmed that the police force will be restructured, with three elite teams likely to be abolished, as previously reported by The Straits Times.

Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi said the three units likely to be scrapped are the Special Task Force for Anti-vice, Gaming and Gangsterism (Stagg), the Special Task Force on Organised Crime (Stafoc) and the Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics Group (Sting).

"The special squads will not be replaced with other teams. There will also be a restructuring (in the force)," he said at the police's Hari Raya open house on Tuesday (June 26).

Earlier, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who attended the event, said the decision to restructure the force was made after a briefing with senior officers.

"In our first meeting today, we reviewed suggestions to abolish several task forces."

"We also plan to reshuffle all the departments under the force. We will finalise this proposal in one to two weeks' time," he said, adding that the restructuring will involve senior police officers and personnel.

The Straits Times on June 11 had reported, quoting sources, that there would be a major shake-up in the police force with three elite units that are believed to be graft-ridden expected to abolished, and a handful of department heads sacked.

When asked who will be the first to be replaced, the source said: "No. 1", referring to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohamad Fuzi.

Mr Mohamad Fuzi was appointed nine months ago by former premier Najib Razak to replace Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar. The sources did not say why Mr Fuzi would be replaced.

These changes mirror movements in in other agencies as the month-old Mahathir Mohamad administration consolidates its position and seeks to reform the government.

Speaking about the expected shutdown of the three special units, a source said a big problem was their suspected involvement in corruption and protecting the criminals they were supposed to rein in.

"That's one of the main reasons why there are plans to abolish Stagg, Stafoc and Sting. Too many of those who were entrusted to fight the underworld are also the ones who protect them," another source said.

The Straits Times understands from sources that Malaysia's police intelligence department, the Special Branch, has submitted three names to the government as potential candidates to replace Mr Mohamad Fuzi.

One of them is believed to be deputy police chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim. Tan Sri Noor Rashid, 60, is known for his no-nonsense approach and previously headed the national Narcotic Criminal Investigation Department before being promoted to his current post.

Mr Noor Rashid has held many other top posts in a 31-year career, including as Sabah police commissioner.

Another name submitted to the government is Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, the source said.

Prior to being appointed to lead the Strategic Resources and Technology Department, Mr Acryl was head of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department. He has also held the posts of Sarawak police chief and Perak police chief.

The name of the third candidate could not be confirmed.

Several other higher-ranking department chiefs did not make the cut due to them "not being clean", the source said.

Some others among them were also judged to have come up short in loyalty, as they were believed to be aligned to Datuk Seri Najib.

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