COPS ‘FORCED’ TO TAKE BRIBES
Lower-ranked cops allegedly pushed to find ‘extra income’ to meet sponsorship demands of their superiors
RAMPANT police corruption should also be blamed on high-ranking officers who demand “sponsors” from their men.
Speaking to the New Sunday Times on condition of anonymity, several sources within the force said such a practice had forced policemen, especially district-level ones, to find “extra income”.
The practice, they said, had become a culture and a bane to policemen nationwide.
They said while it was undeniable that many cases of graft in the force happened because of greed, there were also those who succumbed to pressure as they felt compelled to entertain demands from their higher-ups.
“Demands (from higher-ranking officers) for ‘sponsors’ happen all the time. Whenever there are events like dinners or mess nights, even sporting events, there would be requests for sponsors of jerseys and other items,” said a source.
Another source said it was normal practice for higher-ranking officers to call their men and demand contributions whenever their unit or department organised an event.
These contributions are said to be up to hundreds of ringgit per person, depending on the rank, with officers usually having to pay more.
Sources claimed that the ridiculous demands had led to policemen having to turn to syndicates, who were more than willing to pay as long as their illicit businesses were kept under the enforcement radar.
“For officers who are in charge of enforcing laws against vice or illegal gaming dens, for example, they would go to these syndicates while low-ranking ones on general duty take advantage of those who commit small offences and illegal immigrants.
“It is not a secret that this is happening, but many just turn a blind eye because they know the predicament policemen face. Even those with high salaries cannot afford to pay for these contributions and sponsorships out of their own pocket,” said a source.
The NSU was also told of text messages, said to have gone viral on WhatsApp groups among policemen, urging fellow colleagues to stop entertaining such demands from their superiors.
Sources said these messages started circulating after the recent arrests of policemen, including two district police chiefs (OCPDs), by the Malaysian AntiCorruption Commission.
One of the messages details how district police chiefs have to entertain demands of their superiors, who allegedly wanted “everything to be ready for them” whenever they visit.
These include accommodation, food and entertainment, regardless if they were there for official business or otherwise.
“Whether it’s official or not, when they call the police chief (of a state), the police chief would tell the relevant OCPD to make ‘arrangements’.
“How many thousands of ringgit do these OCPDs have to fork out every month? Where else can they get the money? Do you expect them to use their own salary? That (bribes) is the only way to make side income.
“But, when officers or even OCPDs get busted (for graft), no one comes to help. Instead, they put even more pressure on the officers, pretending not to know what was happening,” said one of the messages.
There were also claims that OCPDs had to pay at least RM500 just for a police mess night, which was held at a fivestar hotel and included gifts of expensive watches and jewellery.
“So, to all OCPDs and OCS (police station chiefs), just keep this in mind,” the message continued.
Another text started with a reminder to “all OCPDs, OCS, Formation chiefs” to just entertain higher-ups from headquarters according to their means.
Crafted with a pinch of sarcasm, the message said highranking officers should be entertained with fried noodles, curry puffs and tea as they had allowance for their visits.
“We don’t even entertain our own families to a RM1,000 meal. So, why do we care what they (the superiors) think? As long as we entertain them as guests, it is enough.
“Do not entertain demands from department heads to host big events, with Hollywood or cowboy themes and what not, as it would be the lower ranks who carry the burden, forking out more than RM50 each, which is a big amount.
“If there is any element of being forced to do so, just report it to the Integrity and Standard Compliance Department, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission. And, if this still doesn’t work, just viral it so civilians would know what is happening and these officers would be shamed.”
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said federal police were aware that such incidents might have taken place and were looking into it.
He said the force would ensure such a practice was not part of the force’s culture.
However, he also warned that should lower-ranked officers and rank-and-file policemen face such “requests”, they should report the matter and not use it as an excuse for corruption.
He said the viral messages could have come from disgruntled policemen, who wanted to put the blame for their corrupt practices on someone else.
“If they commit an offence, be ready to face the music instead of pointing fingers. But, we are looking into the matter. I do not deny 100 per cent (that such a culture exists), but we are looking into this and we will make sure it does not happen.
“It all comes back to the individual. There is an order preventing such a practice, and if a policeman is forced by his or her superior (to make cash contributions or get sponsors), they can report to a higher-rank officer or to our disciplinary department. We will take action.”
A WhatsApp message allegedly being circulated among policemen detailing how district police chiefs have to entertain demands of their superiors.