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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Will IGP Hamid Bador’s term be extended?

 


Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Abdul Hamid Bador has about a week or so left in office. He was appointed as the nation’s top cop for a two-year term on May 4, 2019. Hence, his last day as IGP should be next Monday, May 3.

But is Hamid retiring as scheduled? So far, all is quiet. What is interesting is that no successor has been named, even at this late hour. There is no speculation too.

What we have only heard was a quiet call from Parti Pejuang Tanahair for Hamid to be retained in the top post. The party felt there should not be a change of any senior police officers, including the IGP, during an emergency.

I can agree with that. These are not normal times and I believe that a change in the top gun of such a huge and important security organisation as the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) is not only unwise but also unnecessary. So too with other big government agencies such as the Armed Forces or Immigration Department.

However, following normal convention, it is indeed time for Hamid to step down because his age does not permit him to carry on as the IGP.

Hamid was born on August 7, 1958. By August this year, he will be 63. All of Hamid’s 11 predecessors retired either near or at 60. That’s the retirement age in the Malaysian civil service.

The nation’s 12th IGP is the only exception. Hamid was appointed as the top cop at almost 61. In between, he opted for early retirement in 2015 and was recalled in 2018.

Hamid has had an interesting and illustrious police career. His name first hit the headlines when he was abruptly transferred from Bukit Aman where he was the Special Branch deputy director to the Prime Minister’s Office.

There were intense speculations then that Hamid’s role in probing the 1MDB scandal was the cause of his fall from grace. But the man chose to retire rather than suffer the “cold storage” humiliation.

Hamid said he was happy in his new profession as a farmer in his native Rembau, Negeri Sembilan, when he was recalled by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the new Pakatan Harapan prime minister, to Bukit Aman.

IGP Abdul Hamid Bador speaking about eradicating drug syndicates.

He returned as Special Branch director in October 2018 and was appointed Acting Deputy IGP in March the following year. Two months later, he succeeded Mohamad Fuzi Harun as the new IGP.

It is widely believed that Mahathir saw the “reformer” in Hamid and needed the no-nonsense police officer to clean up a very corrupt and tainted PDRM. Did Hamid succeed in his two years as the IGP in reforming the police force?

Leading an organisation of 120,000 men and women is no easy feat and it would be a miracle if Hamid could totally overhaul PDRM in a matter of two short years. Nonetheless, he can be credited for several reforms he initiated.

Soon after taking over as IGP, Hamid announced that PDRM agreed to the long-awaited introduction of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). This was a long-standing issue within PDRM since it was first recommended 14 years ago by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Force.

Hamid then went about with his elaborate campaign against rogue police officers warning them of stern action if they run afoul of the law. He also started making impromptu visits to police stations across the country.

Hamid also started out early in 2018 to nab financial fugitive Low Taek Jho, popularly known as Jho Low, but has not been successful to date. This is probably one mission that the IGP will list as a failure today. But Hamid has always been optimistic that Jho, as elusive as he is, will be arrested one day.

IGP Abdul Hamid Bador and financial fugitive Jho Low (right).

Over the past month or so, Malaysians could well sense that our top cop was a man in a hurry. Hamid knew that he was running out of time. He made some explosive revelations which many felt were vital information and long overdue.

The IGP claimed there was a “cartel” within the police force trying to position themselves in key posts, with the intent to facilitate the carrying out of “dirty work”.

Hamid also called out “traitors” among the men in blue for their involvement with underworld gang leaders such as the notorious Nicky Liow who is now on the run.

When policemen are supposed to be law enforcers, it is inconceivable for any of them to break the law. Police misconduct is generally intolerable and understandably so.

I don’t think it is fair to expect Hamid to soldier on as the top gun in Bukit Aman. There is only so much a man can do.

PDRM's motto, “Tegas, Adil, Berhemah” (Firm, Just, Well-Mannered), stands proud and tall among the men and women in blue, and most certainly for a dedicated and outstanding officer like Hamid.

I will be happy to see him serving out a few more months till the emergency is over if he is prepared to do so.

However, if the good man insists that he wants to call it a day by May 3, then we owe it to our 12th IGP to wish him “Godspeed for a very happy retirement and a well-earned rest”. - Mkini


FRANCIS PAUL SIAH is the author of ‘Hijack in Malaysia: The Fall of Pakatan Harapan’. Obtain autographed copies from sirsiah@gmail.com.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

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