KUALA LUMPUR: The suggestion by Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador to establish an independent federal law enforcement agency is innovative and progressive, says Universiti Sains Malaysia crime and policing research team head Associate Professor Dr P. Sundramoorthy.
“It is a brilliant and strategic suggestion by the IGP and it is long overdue.
“If this proposal is accepted by the government, we need to make certain that this new agency is established as an independent federal law enforcement agency that can serve all in this nation without fear or favour,” he told the New Straits Times recently.
“As per the IGP’s suggestion, this agency must be developed based on a policing theoretical framework.”
Sundramoorthy said the agency’s scope must not be limited to intelligence work.
“An independent law enforcement agency can go beyond intelligence work.
“Besides focusing on terrorism, domestic and foreign intelligence, this proposed law enforcement agency can also address other serious societal issues and crimes like civil rights violation and infringement, corruption, human trafficking, cybercrime and organised crime syndicates.”
Sundramoorthy said it would function as an elite independent law enforcement agency that could intervene, manage and address complex and difficult issues for a safer Malaysia.
He said the police could emulate the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as far as the scope of work and jurisdiction over other existing law enforcement agencies were concerned.
He said it must be developed based on Malaysian law and abide by the Federal Constitution.
“We cannot entirely replicate the FBI. Besides the FBI, there are other similar excellent independent law enforcement agencies worldwide that we can replicate especially on the outstanding points.
“I am certain that the IGP is knowledgeable on this subject matter.”
He stressed that it would be not suitable to place the agency under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry.
“Thus, it must be debated by the police leadership, Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), policymakers and experts regarding the independent status and whom should they report to.
“For instance, the FBI is operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice.
“The issue of this agency being independent needs to be addressed from all perspectives and feedback from relevant stakeholders is absolutely necessary.”
He said the agency should not have the power to prosecute, and that the prosecution of cases investigated by the agency must be handled solely by the AGC.
He added that the agency could play a major role in assisting the soon-to-be established Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to investigate police wrongdoing.
“IPCMC can utilise this independent law enforcement body to investigate cases of police misconduct very professionally and independently.
“This independent agency must uphold the laws of this nation and ensure that wrongdoers will be prosecuted regardless of their rank.
“Of course, this proposed independent law enforcement agency can ideally work with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the AGC not only to deal with police corruption, but also corruption in other law enforcement agencies.”
He said recruitment for the agency should be based on meritocracy.
“Hiring of officers must be colour-blind. Only highly qualified individuals must be recruited.
“Physical ability must not be the main criteria for recruitment. Intelligence is the key.
“In principle, I agree with the IGP to turn the SB (Special Branch) into an independent law enforcement agency, but not every personnel from SB should be absorbed. It should be an elite body and sustained as such if successfully established.”
This article was first published on NST.