CID chief Shuhaily Zain’s damning ‘closed-door’ speech: Will police finally walk the talk?

It was a seven-minute, three-second video clip that set the internet on fire.

On Friday, the clip of newly-minted Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director, Datuk Seri Mohd Shuhaily Zain, verbally eviscerating senior police officers during a closed-door meeting, went viral.

In it, Shuhaily called out officers who worked alongside syndicates – compromising the safety and lives of their brothers in blue for financial gain – and senior officers who tolerated a culture of malfeasance in the force.

At one point, Shuhaily questioned how sergeants and other low-ranking officers could afford to buy luxury vehicles on their pay grade.

Shuhaily pulled no punches, and fired salvo after salvo of withering fire during the CID Director’s Mandate Ceremony at Kompleks Cahaya in Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, on Oct 6.

While most Malaysians were largely in support of Shuhaily’s ‘brutal’ indictment of the problems plaguing the Royal Malaysia Police, there were those who were unimpressed that bits and pieces of his speech were made public.

They said it made those in the room – contingent CID chiefs and CID chiefs from district police headquarters nationwide – look bad. It basically confirmed an open secret, that there were dirty senior cops who abused their uniforms and badges to enrich themselves.

Others wondered why his speech was turned into a ‘video pilihan’ (selected video) and posted on the Royal Malaysia Police’s Facebook account.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the 130,000-strong police personnel in the country as they continue to battle with the public perception of being incompetent, corrupt, and playing judge, jury, and executioner, in police stations. Shuhaily’s speech confirmed what was long suspected.

The speech was clearly between a CID director and his subordinates.

Wasn’t it supposed to be a ‘closed-door’ event? Was Shuhaily informed that his speech would be made public?

Will speeches by the IGP, during meetings among key personnel, also be made into ‘video pilihan’ and posted on social media?

There were those who wondered if the attempt to publicise the video would create a rift among Shuhaily, described as a no-nonsense cop, and his peers.

Shuhaily, after all, has been going places, having served as Penang police chief, and a three-month stint as Kuala Lumpur police chief before landing the job in Bukit Aman in August.

Shuhaily’s revelations echoed that of Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador’s shocking claims of a cartel within the police force that was working with criminals to get rid of him.

The difference is that the former Inspector-General of Police said this during his final press conference as the nation’s top cop – not in a room meant strictly for the ears of senior police officers.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain, in an exclusive interview with Media Prima published yesterday, said he was on a mission to restore the force’s honour and public trust in the institution.

He admitted that there were some bad actors. He went on to say that from January to Aug 31, this year, 90 police personnel were arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Razarudin said the force would not tolerate officers engaging in abuse of power and corrupt practices, pledging a commitment to ensure transparency on the matter.

From January to August, 804 personnel were penalised for various disciplinary infringements. They include 475 receiving warning letters, 173 who were suspended from work, 144 who were fined, and 69 who were sacked.

“We will never collude (with them) and if the reporters (want information about them) we will give (them the information). We don’t want to condone (their wrongdoings),” Razarudin was quoted in the New Straits Times as saying.

But haven’t we heard this before?

‘Transparency’ means engaging and providing the media with detailed information, not just to the “friendly” few, via a WhatsApp group.

The force should also be open when it comes to cases of huge public interest. This includes the status of the investigation involving a football fan who was assaulted while watching the FA Cup final between Johor Darul Ta’zim and Kuala Lumpur City FC at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium on July 22.

Restoring the public’s faith in the men and women in blue will take more than just videos or images of police personnel feeding stray dogs, or helping to change a flat tyre. It requires carrying out justice without fear or favour. The public must be kept informed of the status of cases of public interest as a matter of course. The police can ill-afford to adopt a policy of ‘ask, and then, only tell’. Inject humility and empathy while on the job.

For our men and women in blue to remain committed to their jobs, the decision-makers and those in Putrajaya must look into the welfare of the uniformed personnel. There needs to be additional manpower.

Razarudin recently said that the Royal Malaysia Police has proposed to the government that the starting salary for personnel at the rank of constable (YA1) of RM1,441 be adjusted to the national minimum wage of RM1,500 per month.

As a retired policeman once said during coffee: “A cop is not known by his name, but the badge and uniform he or she wears, and the institution he or she represents. Take that away, and only then will he or she understand the predicament of the average Malaysian.”

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