KUALA LUMPUR: All police officers holding important posts should be made to declare their assets, say criminologists and anti-crime groups following a decision by the Bukit Aman CID director to make this compulsory for his department.
This is because Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain’s proposal on Oct 11 has received wide support and applause from the public.
Criminologist Assoc Prof (Honorary) Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy said he hoped the idea would be taken up by Comm Mohd Shuhaily’s bosses including the Inspector-General of Police and the Deputy IGP, as well as other federal police directors.
“With society in general being very supportive of such a move, we hope that the police top leadership and Bukit Aman directors will put their hearts and soul in cleaning up and enhancing the police’s image.
“They should move on this very quickly and extend it to the rest of the police force,” said Prof Sundramoorthy of Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Those who refuse to declare their assets or are found to be living beyond their means should be severely penalised, he added.
While lauding Comm Mohd Shuhaily’s move, Malaysians Against Rape, Assault and Snatch Thief (Marah) founder Dave Avran said a more effective mechanism was an independent police oversight body.
“If the corruption crisis has taught us anything, it is that the problem cannot be regarded only as an internal issue and resolved within their ranks.
“The only effective method to achieve this aim is through an independent oversight mechanism devoid of political interference, with the capacity to take action against corrupt officers as well as the authority to implement improvements to the way the police operate.
“Furthermore, we must construct development training modules, particularly for trainees undertaking basic police training.
“These courses must include both in-service training and ongoing spiritual activities for all levels of the police force, including frontline officers and decision-making officers.
“We want police personnel to avoid corruption not out of fear of legal action or rules, but out of self-awareness,” he said.
Alliance for a Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said Comm Mohd Shuhaily’s plan would help burnish the image of the police.
“It is essential for our police force to enjoy the confidence and earn the respect of the public,” he said.
Comm Mohd Shuhaily had made headlines when a video of him admonishing his personnel was made public last week, in which he warned corrupt officers in cahoots with criminal rackets to either “change or be changed”.
As a first step, all CID officers holding sensitive positions, including district CID chiefs and anti-vice, gaming and secret societies division (D7) members, will have to declare their assets.
“If someone is able and can afford a certain lifestyle, they must show that they have a legitimate source of income. We will conduct continuous auditing to ensure high integrity among CID officers,” he said.