When good men do nothing

Pic by BERNAMA

WHAT Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador (picture) revealed in his farewell press conference would have caused a “bloodbath” in other functioning democracies.

Heads would have rolled — suspensions and sackings, apart from a highly scrutinised inquiry in that, would have followed.

All these would have been conducted under public glare and as per public demand.

That is what it should be. After all, the revelation came from the top cop, the last line of defence for the nation’s security. Warts and all, the police force and its top man stand as the shield against the bad men and the crooks.

In other words, despite questions raised about some of the men in blue being corrupt and propping crime syndicates, in times of trouble, the natural reaction for the ordinary citizens is still to turn to the cops.

Simply put, if someone’s house is on fire, the person would call the Fire Department and if one is robbed or threatened, the person would call the cops.

However, if Abdul Hamid, when he was still the IGP was himself in trouble with the force, over the existence of a cartel, and since he is the police, who could he have turned to?

Obviously not to the fire department, even though he was all fired up in facing the troubles beleaguering the force.

Ideally, he should turn to the home affairs minister. The problem is that Abdul Hamid’s trouble is the home affairs minister.

So, he turned to the prime minister (and the chief secretary to the government) and obtained a solution albeit temporarily and only for one of the many troubles. Abdul Hamid later revealed that it involved the attempt to ask the head of the Special Branch to step down several months before he is due to retire to be replaced with someone who is preferred by the home affairs minister.

But there were a lot of other problems, much of it involved what Abdul Hamid described as interference by politicians, and he was directing his guns at the home affairs minister.

And having failed to solve most of the problems and troubles, Abdul Hamid decided to turn to the press and by extension, to the public.

Rightly so, as a troubled police force spells trouble for a whole nation.

Beneath all the sabre rattling and public expressions of frustrations, the crux of the problem is corruption and abuse of power. Apart from the cartel and the political interference, Abdul Hamid had said just enough of corrupt practices in the party-hopping activities from Sabah to the peninsula.

The clip to which Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin had admitted that the recording was of his voice made the situation murkier as he insisted that he didn’t commit any wrong and if there was any crime, it was the person who had recorded and distributed it.

While he may believe that there was nothing wrong, anyone who had listened to the clip, however, would be disturbed by parts where he was heard speaking about “budak kita” (literally to mean his boy) being positioned in the force and that the ruler would be happy to have a Perak boy taking up the post.

Whoever Hamzah was referring to, he was not doing him any justice and neither does the remarks about the ruler serves anything positive for the institution.

Someone may turn around and point out what’s new with such revelations that the nation had not heard before.

Well, it comes from Abdul Hamid, who is not a politician and had been entrusted to protect the nation’s security from external or internal threats.

Whether the top political echelon believes what he said or otherwise, given the position he held, it merits attention and the least they should do is to conduct an investigation immediately.

There had been call for an RCI (royal commission of inquiry), which by any standards is of merit.

The demand for an RCI over Abdul Hamid’s revelations comes from a cross section of society, from the legal eagles, MPs and leaders of civil societies.

Of course, there are the detractors and some members of the ulama class who instead of being concerned over the development chose to chastise Abdul Hamid for speaking up.

As pointed out earlier, what Abdul Hamid said may have been a public secret, but with him coming out publicly, it is an opportunity to address the malaise that had besieged the nation.

The ulama is especially disappointing and they seemed not to have learnt from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) infamy when they chose to keep their peace and allowed the nation to be plundered dry.

It is as much on them then and now as it is with those who had committed the crime.

And they seem to forget that Abdul Hamid was not like any of them even then. He stood up against the powers that be then for the 1MDB crime, and the courts which had tried these cases had indirectly affirmed his stand.

Given the background, Abdul Hamid’s foray into the current controversy should be taken seriously and given due attention, while the opinion of some members of the ulama caste should be dismissed derisively and with contempt.

For these ulama, their utterances are only self-serving and with only political concerns in mind, not the nation nor the religion.

How history would judge Abdul Hamid is anybody’s guess. But for now, he is on the right side of history.


Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.