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Friday, November 30, 2012

Ex-home minister denies meddling in probes

Syed Hamid Albar says no directive was issued to ex-IGP Musa Hassan during his time as the home minister.
KUALA LUMPUR: Former home minister Syed Hamid Albar said has denied issuing instructions to Musa Hassan when the latter served as inspector-general of police under him for over a year.
“No, I don’t think [I gave instructions to Musa]. They are responsible for the law and order and they know the situation better than anyone else in the performance of their duty,” said Syed Hamid, who was home minister from March 2008 to April 2009.
He said this when asked to comment on Musa’s accusation on Wednesday that Cabinet ministers and politicians regularly interfered with police investigations and arrests during the latter’s tenure.
Musa named current Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein as one of the politicians but the latter denied the claims yesterday and accused “certain quarters” of trying to sidetrack the public from the issues raised at the Umno General Assembly.
Syed Hamid, who was Hishammuddin’s predecessor, similarly denied that he meddled in police investigations, adding that his role as home minister was to listen to the IGP.
“We act based on [the IGP's] advice. As minister, they advise us, then we act,” he explained.
Asked if there were any directives given to the police during his tenure, Syed Hamid said: “Not that I have known of, I know where my lines are.”
“I don’t know what incidents [Musa] is referring to so it is difficult for me to say if it is right or it is wrong. Whether in our conversations it is considered interference or whether in the reporting we give out…” he said.
“Each one of us must know where the dividing line is… There is lots of interaction, whether it’s considered interfering, I don’t know,” he added.
But, like his fellow Umno colleagues, Syed Hamid refused to condemn Musa, saying that the ex-IGP had served the country well and was entitled to his view.
“He is retired. In the process of freedom of expression… Let him express his views.
“[Our relationship] has always been good. I don’t know who he is referring to, but I’m sure all ministers know what they need to do with their ministry,” he said.
Musa, who retired as IGP in September 2010, had reportedly quoted Section 4(1) of the Police Act, which states that police orders must only come from the IGP, who would be liable for such instructions.
“I was informed even a secretary-general can direct CPOs [Chief Police Officers] and [ask them to] report back to him. So, who is in charge of the police now?” Musa had said.

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