KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 ― In the face of public fears over security, Tan Sri Musa Hassan turned the heat on politicians whom he said were damaging the country by unfairly accusing police intelligence of spying on citizens instead of fighting crime.
The former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) refuted PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s allegation last week that the police Special Branch (SB) was spending more effort to spy on the public than combating crime, which she based on parliamentary papers from two years back showing the unit had used its manpower to produce reports on the activities of more than 700,000 Malaysians.
“The police keep the peace and security of all and whoever takes care of national security, he has to monitor.
“That means monitoring has to be done not only on criminals but also on politicians who want to damage the country, and (those who) are always damaging the country are politicians,” the 60-year-old told The Malaysian Insider in an interview this week.
Musa, who spent 41 years in the force and retired as its top policeman in 2010, has been credited with capturing Mas Selamat Kastari, one of the region’s most wanted terrorists, who escaped Singapore’s maximum security Whitley Detention Centre in 2008 and remained at large for over a year until May 2009.
But Musa’s record has also been blemished by allegations of conspiring with the Attorney-General and fabricating evidence over PKR de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s “black eye” incident in 1998 when the latter was sacked as deputy prime minister on twin charges of corruption and sodomy.
He has filed a defamation suit against Anwar, which is fixed to be heard on October 16.
The retired policeman stepped into the spotlight again this week and urged the federal government not to mask crime figures, as pressure over a recent spate of high-profile reports of kidnappings, assaults and robberies in public areas and in broad daylight have put the home minister, the current IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar and the government’s efficiency unit, Pemandu, on the defensive.
Musa pointed out that if crime were not on the rise, top-ranking officials and ministers would not need to hire bodyguards.
The ex-policeman had also suggested the government appoint a third party to conduct an independent review of the country’s crime rate and produce its own statistics, saying that he had roped in Universiti Sains Malaysia researchers to prepare crime statistics during his four years in office as IGP.
Last week, PKR had demanded the government redirect the SB towards fighting crime instead of spying on the public, telling a press conference on July 3 that the police intelligence unit had produced 382,000 reports on the political activities of Malaysian citizens and conducted 351,000 security clearance checks in 2010, based on the allocation for the force in Budget 2012.
The former IGP said politicians are not immune from the law, whether they are from the ruling party or the opposition.
“Her allegation is not right. Police monitor everything including politicians,” he said.
“If (the politician) does something that threatens national security, then we (the police) must act.