PETALING JAYA: The appointment of senior police officers rests collectively with the Police Force Commission (SPP) and not solely on the Home Minister, say two of the country’s former top cops.
Tan Sri Musa Hassan said that although the nine-member SPP was chaired by the minister, its composition included the Inspector-General of Police, members of other agencies and former judges.
“The minister cannot make the decision alone. The commission will discuss appointments. No one person has absolute power to determine who should be promoted, ” he said.
He noted that the post of IGP is an appointment by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong while that of senior police officers comes under the purview of the SPP collectively.
“It is inaccurate to say the minister has the power with regards to the appointment of senior police officers as it is done by the commission according to law under Article 140 of the Federal Constitution, ” he added.
Musa, who served as IGP between 2006 and 2010, said that recommendations for the appointment of junior officers such as inspectors lie in the hands of the IGP, respective state police chiefs or directors in charge of federal police divisions.
He was commenting on outgoing IGP Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador’s farewell press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, where he slammed current Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin for what he called political interference in the police force, and proposed that the SPP not be chaired by a minister to prevent meddling by politicians.
Musa acknowledged the occurrence of political interference at the operational level without the knowledge of the IGP.
“This happens at an operational level. A politician may direct officers such as state police chiefs or junior officers without the IGP’s knowledge.
“Any instructions should go to the IGP. It’s up to the IGP to issue orders. That is the procedure, ” he explained.
Musa, a veteran of 41 years in the force, noted that police officers are bound to act on legal orders and can disobey any orders even from superiors, if such orders are illegal.
Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor said there was no need to revamp the SPP to exclude the Home Minister from chairing the commission.
“During my tenure, the post of Home Minister was coincidentally also held by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“This was allowed under the law. There were no problems, ” he added.
He said this was because decisions by the SPP were done collectively and not by the minister who chaired the commission.
Abdul Rahim, who served as IGP between 1994 and 1997, said the suggestion that a non-politician sit as chairman of the SPP would not resolve the inherent problem of “human weaknesses”.
“At the end of the day, it still boils down to human weaknesses, no matter who chairs the SPP, ” he added.