More than RM1 million in cash has been seized so far from the policemen, including RM800,000 reportedly found in a lance corporal’s home, an amazing amount considering lance corporal is the second lowest rank in the entire force. All these were nabbed for allegedly running a protection racket, collecting money from illegal gambling dens and massage parlours in exchange for protecting them against police action.
When news of the arrests in Bukit Aman and Melaka came out, social media websites were abuzz with comments from netizens who, invariably, had something bad to say about the force. It was always a variation of the standard: “Ya lorr... all these cops know only one thing... to collect
It is true, many of us have had run-ins with crooked cops. But many of us have also come across policemen who are not crooked, who have integrity. So, one tends to believe the home minister or the inspector-general of police when they say there is only a small percentage of policemen who are corrupt, though one tends to believe the problem is at least slightly bigger than what these fine gentlemen think it to be. Let’s face it, though. No matter what the numbers are, one corrupt policeman is one too many for such a fine profession.
But the bigger issue is this. It takes two hands to clap, as the saying goes. In order for corruption to exist, in order for policemen to do the taking, there must be someone doing the giving. Let’s not talk about crime syndicates and criminals in general. Let’s talk about us.
How many of us have tried to bribe a traffic policeman to not give us a ticket for speeding or some other small traffic offence? How many of those who commented on social media about the Narcotics Department officers and Melaka policemen have a clean conscience when it comes to bribery?
Those men in Bukit Aman and Melaka, if indeed they are guilty of what they are being investigated for, are in the pockets of criminal organisations. There are those who are not, but get money anyway from the regular Joes, the man on the street, the normal citizen (and foreigner). Those who pay off corrupt policemen with singular RM20 or RM50, even RM10 notes are equally as guilty as those who take the money.
For a zero-corruption society to exist, the practice of giving needs to be eradicated as much as the culture of taking. This has indeed become a culture for us. And it is because of this that former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had created such a thing as Institut Integriti Malaysia.
When the idea for the institute was first mooted, many thought it was rather shameful that we as a country would need such an institute. After all, shouldn’t integrity be ingrained in us? But it would appear that we need just such an institute. It would seem these days that integrity is not something that we instil in our children. How else can we explain the culture of corruption that seems so pervasive in our society?
In order for us to have a graftfree country, all aspects of society need to work together. From politicians and leaders, to civil servants, right down to ordinary citizens. Everyone.
There is no need to point fingers. It is our responsibility. It is our country.
The writer has more than two decades of experience, much of which has been spent writing about crime and the military. A die-hard Red Devil, he can usually be found wearing a Manchester United jersey when outside of work
A man remanded for suspected involvement in the protection racket in Melaka last week. We must work together to rid the country of corruption.