KUALA LUMPUR: Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar still remembers what it was like attending his first day as a law student in 1991 when he was a 34-year-old assistant superintendent.
The nation's top cop was one of 15 officers selected to attend a part-time degree course at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
Khalid recalled that the force, under then police chief Tun Hanif Omar, had been sending the best and brightest officers to further their education since the 80's.
"It was interesting moving from the working world to a life of a student again. And to be an adult surrounded by teenagers, it was nice to feel youthful again.
"It was a good experience but a difficult one, because at that time we had to do it with no pay leave.
"Since then officers have been getting half-pay leave and now they are lucky to be granted paid leave to pursue further education," said Khalid, who graduated with a Bachelor of Law in 1995.
He went on to study at the University of Cambridge under the Wolfson Leadership Course.
Now an IIUM council member, Khalid announced the formation of a police alumni charter with the university in recognition of the university's role in moulding the careers of some of the rank's top officers - himself included.
He said the alumni has 305 members comprising retired and still serving senior officers who have studied through the university's partnership with the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP).
"We are the 29th police alumni charter for IIUM in the world and it has been something we have been meaning to do. With the charter, we aim to have a closer relationship with our alma matter.
"We will be doing more activities with IIUM in the future to enhance our knowledge for policing," he said in his speech to over 300 police alumni.
IIUM director Datuk Seri Dr Zaleha Kamaruddin presented Khalid with the university's Alumni Leadership Public Service Award for his role in helming the nation's police force.
"Without the social and political stability provided by the police, I doubt IIUM could have flourished to educate sons and daughters of the Muslim world," she said.
Dr Zaleha added that among the new ventures IIUM was seeking with the police was training on the newer threats like cyber crime.