Lower-ranked cops al­legedly pushed to find ‘ex­tra in­come’ to meet spon­sor­ship de­mands of their su­pe­ri­ors

New Straits Times - - News - HARIZ MOHD KUALA LUMPUR

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.

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