Friday, June 29, 2007

Hah, Oh Dear?! RM 100 Cash Reward to Stamp Out Cop Bribery?!

I read with much enthusiasm the piece of news which has no official news source origin, but displayed in these websites:
1) Google Groups: Careful if u wanna bribe M'sian police
2) Whatever: Can an RM100 Prevent Bribing The Cop ?

Cash reward for cops who arrest anyone trying to bribe them

KUALA LUMPUR: A cash reward of up to RM100 and a letter of commendation will be given to police personnel who arrest anyone who attempts to bribe them.

Acting Inspector-General of Police Datuk Musa Hassan said the reward would be for Traffic, Criminal Investigations Department and Narcotics Department police personnel. He added that the reward was to spur policemen to uphold the integrity of the force. "The reward offer is also to let our men know that we appreciate them for their honesty and loyalty. "We also hope to inculcate in our men that accepting bribes is a very serious offence and does not pay," he added. In Kuantan, Pahang police chief Datuk Ramli Yusuff said the cash reward would be double the bribe offered and up to a maximum of RM100. Ramli told Bernama that the reward would be paid after the person who offered the bribe had been charged and the case concluded in the courts. "I will personally hand over the reward to the police personnel concerned," he said, adding that the incentive would be paid from the Pahang Police Fund. Earlier, at the monthly parade held at state police headquarters, Ramli said L/Kpl Bakri Pandak Ahmad of the Kuantan traffic police was rewarded with RM100 last month for arresting a man who had offered him a RM50 bribe ....


I hope the mentioned news is not true. Bribery is rampant in Malaysia. As reported by Malaysiakini, a traffic cop allegedly taking bribe was caught on video. In this digital age, it is so easy to record bribery offenses. One can just use any average handphone cameras The image of Malaysian police force will be tarnished if the video is exposed on Youtube.

Nevertheless, this solution may work although it is not an ethical way of doing it. The Singapore police force administration did not offer such rewards to the police but bribery is almost non-existent there.

A commentator in Japan Today even wrote harshly, "First of all, a cash reward in of itself is a form of bribe (irony alert)". Even if there is argument that the reward should not be considered as a bribe, the solution has evoked much misunderstanding on the role of a police.

A police's job is to catch offenders. They should not be encouraged to catch offenders who eventually bribe so that they can get cash rewards. It gives people the wrong idea of joining a police force. It makes the police force sound "commercial" rather than for "justice".

Furthermore, this is not a permanent solution. The answer is simple on why it is regarded as temporary. Once you take away the RM100 reward, the bribery scene returns.

Another point to note is, the cash rewards will only work for traffic fines under the amount of RM 100. Let's analyse.

Scenario 1
Let's say you are a traffic offender fined RM 100. You offer a bribe of RM50. If I were the police officer, I will report you to ACA. RM 100 cash reward is definitely more appealing than RM50 bribe.

Scenario 2
Assuming the fine is RM 100 and the bribe is RM50. Although the cash reward is more appealing, as a police officer I would probably take the bribe. Why? I have to go through the hassle of reporting you, wait for the court charge you, wait for the officer to approve the cash reward. We know how troublesome and "efficient" the departments handling this, don't we? This may take days, or even weeks and months.

I might as well, take RM50 and then catch another offender and get another RM50. It can happen in one day, easy and quick.

Reward? Nah.. too troublesome. If I take the bribe, both I (as a police officer) and traffic offender will be "happier" people.

In Malaysia it is all about convenience, right?

Scenario 3
Assuming the fine is more than RM 200, the traffic offender gives me RM 100. I, as an evil officer prefer to take the RM 100 bribe. Cash reward? No, no, no. I do not want to make the public and me unhappy with all that hassle. This applies for all scenarios where traffic fines are more than RM 100.

Scenario 4
The fine is RM 300. Me, evil police officer normally get a RM 100 bribe from offenders. Now, I demand a "hike" to RM 150. I will tell those offenders if they pay me RM 100, I will report them for cash rewards instead. Bribery becomes worse.

As you can see, this temporary solution may only work for scenario 1. Please be reminded that I used the word "may work". Malaysians in general prefer "convenience". Police officer in Malaysia are Malaysians. In my opinion, those police officers who are corrupted would prefer Scenario 2 than Scenario 1.

It is typical of Malaysia to solve a "disease" from the context of "symptoms" rather than from its "root". If Singapore can do it, perhaps we should be decent and employ better diplomacy to approach and learn from them.

If the news mentioned is indeed valid, I will feel rather disappointed with the management of the police force. I urge them to think deeply and carefully before providing a permanent and workable solution. Malaysian police force cannot afford another blunder in its already tarnished reputation. The police force needs to gain more confidence from the public.

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