The following article is sent to the editorial of MalaysiaGazette by reader, Hafiz Hassan.
The Police Force Commission (PFC) – Suruhanjaya Pasukan Polis (SPP) – has come under the spotlight of late. When it was first established under the Federal Constitution 1957, it wasn’t called as such in English. It was named the Police Service Commission (PSC) under Article 140(1) which read as follow:
“There shall be a Police Service Commission, whose jurisdiction shall, subject to Article 144, extend to all persons who are members of the police service.”
A constitutional amendment in 1960 amended Article 140 and renamed the PSC as PFC whose jurisdiction became more elaborate. The amendment came into force on April 1, 1961. That’s exactly 60 years and 1 month ago.
Article 140(1) now provides that the PFC’s jurisdiction “shall extend to all persons who are members of the police force and which, subject to the provisions of any existing law, shall be responsible for the appointment, confirmation, emplacement on the permanent or pensionable establishment, promotion, transfer and exercise of disciplinary control over members of the police force.”
Article 140(3)(a) provides that “the Minister for the time being charged with responsibility for the police” shall be the chairperson of PFC. In simple words, the Home Minister chairs the PFC.
So, the Federal Constitution does place the PFC – chaired by the Home Minister – higher than the Inspector-General of Police (IGP). However, Article 140(7) states that the word “transfer” in clause (1) above does not include transfer without change of rank within the police force. Clause (7) was inserted into Article 140 by the 1960 constitutional amendment.
It is therefore clear that the legislature (Parliament), when it amended Article 140, did not intend that the PFC should be responsible for the transfer of members of the police force if the transfer involved no change of rank within the force.
Article 140 also provides for the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and his deputy (DIGP). Both IGP and DIGP are special posts designated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA). Both are appointed by the YDPA on the recommendation of the PFC but the YDPA must consider the advice of the Prime Minister.
Now, the IGP has the command of the police force by section 4(1) of the Police Act 1967 (Act 344). By the same provision, the IGP has the control and direction of the force and all other persons appointed or engaged for police duties. He is, however, made responsible to the Home Minister.
Act 344 is a law relating to the organization, discipline, powers and duties of the police force and which the Constitution empowers Parliament to make for the exercise of disciplinary control over the force.
Reading Article 140 and Act 344 together, it is clear that while the PFC is responsible for the promotion of police officers, its jurisdiction does not extend to placement of police officers within the force or to transfers of police officers unless the transfer involves a change of rank.
The IGP is rightly the authority to decide on placement and transfer of police officers (without a change of rank) within the force.
The outgoing IGP, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador has rightly raised concerns of political meddling or interference in the police force.