Elite unit among Hanif’s legacy


UTK played pivotal role in rescuing the hostages held by Japanese Red Army

KUALA LUMPUR: In 1975, a year after he took over as Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar (pic) established the Special Actions Unit (UTK), an elite group of police personnel meant for counter-terrorism operations.

The move was almost prescient, as in August of that same year, the Japanese Red Army stormed the AIA building on Jalan Ampang and held 50 people hostage at gun point.

According to Bernama, the UTK played a pivotal role in rescuing the hostages.

The UTK was one of Hanif’s many achievements as IGP over a period of 20 years from 1974 to 1994 – the longest thus far for any police chief.

He was also the nation’s youngest IGP, taking office at the age of 35 after his predecessor, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim, was assassinated by communist insurgents.

In 1976, about two years after he was appointed IGP, Hanif ruled that all police recruits would serve in the Police Field Force before they were assigned to other units, as the Field Force’s jungle training would prepare all police personnel to handle future insurgencies.

His role in dealing with the communist insurgency would also see him being part of the Malaysian government delegation to the peace accord signed between Malaysia and the Communist Party of Malaya in Haadyai, Thailand in December, 1989.

But even before he was made IGP, Hanif’s career in the police would place him in the middle of some of the most pivotal events in Malaysian history.

For instance, Hanif was the Principal Staff Officer (Police) of the National Operations Council during the ethnic riots of May 13, 1969.

He was also one of the five police officers who escorted the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, to the Manila Conference, which established the Maphilindo grouping in 1963.

Solemn: The Grand Imam of the National Mosque, Ehsan Mohd Hosni, leading the funeral prayers for Hanif at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. Also present were IGP Tan Sri Razarudin Husain, family members, senior police officers and friends. — BernamaSolemn: The Grand Imam of the National Mosque, Ehsan Mohd Hosni, leading the funeral prayers for Hanif at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. Also present were IGP Tan Sri Razarudin Husain, family members, senior police officers and friends. — Bernama

Born in then Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan), Perak, Hanif received his early education at Anglo Chinese School and the Malay College Kuala Kangsar.

He then pursued his studies at the University of Malaya, Singapore, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1959 before going on to obtain a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom.

Hanif’s journey in the police began as cadet assistant superintendent on June 8, 1959, and he went on to hold several high-ranking positions, including as police chief of Melaka in 1971 and then Selangor in the same year.

He assumed the position of deputy IGP in 1973.

According to Bernama, Hanif’s son Kapt (R) Abdul Rahmat Omar said his father still thought about the country’s security even in his last days.

“About two weeks ago, during the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate (in Syria), he expressed hope that such an event would not occur in Malaysia and that those in charge of security would take the appropriate precautions,” Kapt Rahmat told reporters yesterday.

After retiring in January 1994, Hanif served as a member of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operations and Management of the Police (2004-2005), patron of the Yayasan Pengaman Malaysia and president of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS).

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