THE Malaysian government is expected to remove several police chiefs in an effort to weed out graft in what has been described as the most corrupt institution in the country.
Sources told the Straits Times that the effort to “cleanse” the organisation will likely see the removal of the current Inspector-General of Police, and the abolishment of three departments from the forces’ specialised operation armed response units.
The sources said the departments to be scrapped comprised the Special Task Force for Anti-vice, Gaming and Gangsterism (Stagg), Special Task Force on Organised Crime (Stafoc) and Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics Group (Sting), the three militarised police departments created to tackle sophisticated and violent trends in organised crime.
“Yes, there is going to be an 8.5 Richter shake-up (in the police force) soon in July,” a source was quoted as saying.
The purge comes after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s shock election victory on May 9 with the new administration vying to deliver campaign promises to apply sweep reforms to the nation’s institutions.
A survey conducted by Transparency International found that Malaysians belive that the police were the most corrupt agency in the country.
The current IGP, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, has only been on the job for nine months after being appointed by former Prime Minister Najib Razak. The Straits Times report said the police force’s Special Branch is coming up with names of replacements for the IGP and department chiefs.
On June 1, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission arrested two high-ranking police officers from Stagg, seizing RM1 million (US$250,000) in cash from several locations.
Another source said: “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.”
The source said some higher-ranking department chiefs would not be promoted as they were not seen to be “clean”. “Some of them have excessive wealth… It doesn’t make sense how some of them can have so many luxury cars, on top of living in a bungalow.”
“Some also misused their power – one of them had abused his power when he headed a department by using the service of outriders. He was not entitled (at the time),” the source said.