On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

The seat gets hot for top cop

IT WAS a loaded statement by Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan – that he was framed by his own men resulting in him being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Agency. 

Certain parties within the police force, the country’s top cop said, had fixed him and he warned his colleagues not to abuse their powers. 

On the same day Musa made his remarks to a newspaper, two packages containing 12-gauge shotgun cartridges were found, addressed to him. 

The parcels, which also contained a threatening note, were discovered by workers at the Bintulu post office.  

Coincidentally, it was in this Sarawak town that he recently ordered operations against gangs in the area. 

That was not all. Musa also found corruption allegations against him on the Internet through the postings of bloggers, particularly Malaysia Today’s Raja Petra Kamaruddin. 

There is a strong suspicion that powerful figures are involved and those familiar with the functions of the force have followed closely its developments, if not, with some concerns that there is disunity within the top brass of the force. 

The IGP’s feud with Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Johari Baharum is well publicised and, until today, conflicting statements continue to come out from both sides. 

Within the force, there is discontent over the transfer of certain senior officials, the result of Musa's fight against corruption.  

The sentiment is that Musa has been overzealous in his task while others said it would be impossible for him to make radical changes overnight, especially when certain problems are entrenched. 

Since he took over as IGP, he has made it compulsory for all policemen to declare their assets every six months. The lifestyles of his officers have also come under his scrutiny. If they were to buy or sell property, Musa has ordered them to update their records and declare them. 

He has also made his mobile phone numbers known to most members of the force, even constables, to keep him updated on the feelings of the rank and file. 

Musa has also been credited with giving non-Malays and women a bigger role in the police leadership. 

His appointments include Commissioner Datuk Christopher Wan (CID director), Deputy Commissioner Datuk Koh Hong Sun (Penang CPO), SAC I Datuk Wee Beng Ghee (deputy narcotics director), SAC I Datuk Robiah Abdul Gani (Pahang deputy CPO), SAC I Zubaidah Md Ismail (deputy director of logistics) and SAC II A. Thaivegan (head of management, Sarawak). 

But some of his quick-fix solutions, said to be not well received, has hurt him as well as affected the morale of the force.  

Strongly-worded letters, it is said, have been sent to him by his senior colleagues. 

At the same time, there is a public outcry at the number of high-profile crimes nationwide, especially in Johor Baru.  

The police have produced figures to rebut claims of increasing crime rates but these statistics mean nothing to ordinary Malaysians who feel the force have not done their job effectively. 

In short, Musa’s hands are full as he takes his battle on all fronts. From fighting criminals to saboteurs within the force, Musa’s job has become harder. 

The IGP’s seat has always been a hot one, but while Musa has plenty of detractors the lanky policeman also has many backers who support what he is doing. 

To many top political leaders and the media, he is regarded as a clean policeman. A clean policeman, if that is the perception, would surely have a difficult job to handle because mud, whether real or imaginary, would be hurled at him. It would also be difficult to find a man like Musa, especially when powerful forces would want to see him out. 

From gaining the respect of his men to the company that he keeps, Musa must understand that he needs to be above board. He must be sensitive to what people say, in fact. 

It is important to note that his tenure has been extended by the Prime Minister, which is a clear endorsement by Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.  

Talk that the Prime Minister’s recommendation was rejected by the Council of Rulers was pure humbug as the matter was never discussed at all. After all, the Rulers know that is the prerogative of the Executive. 

Last week, Abdullah said he wanted to put a stop to comments about graft claims on Musa and former Anti-Corruption Agency chief Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor as they have been cleared of allegations of corruption and criminal misconduct or abuse of power. 

Musa stays in a single-storey house in Petaling Jaya and is not known for any extravagance but even with his squeaky-clean image, as the top policeman, he has come under scrutiny by his men and politicians, and the public at large.  

He has to accept the fact that in any organisation, whether private or public, there would always be resentment, jealousy and envy.  

That comes along with the perks, Tan Sri.