By Fathol Zaman Bukhari
The action by ASP Chen Ah Kooy, Officer-in-charge Police Station (OCS) Menglembu, Ipoh was commendable although his superior thought otherwise.
Chen on May 16 had shot a 42-second video clip of him warning ‘ah longs’ (loan sharks) not to stick their banners and posters in and around Menglembu. And he did this in true underworld fashion, reminiscent of the Malayan Emergency era (1948 to 1960).
“I don’t want MCA and DAP complaining to me about ah long stickers in Menglembu. If you have guts, you ah long should come and see me. Kita cek chow, kita bertarung (we’ve a one-to-one fight). If you’ve a pistol bring it with you. I know you have pistols bought from Thailand,” said Chen in the video.
The police officer’s vitriolic rant against loan sharks and their habits of plastering and hanging banners and posters all over Menglembu had enraged him no end. This could be the reason behind Chen’s decision to shoot the video and circulate it on social media. His masterpiece went viral in matter of minutes after it went on air. And by the following day people were praising him for his bravado.
Ipoh Police Chief, ACP Sum Chang Keong, however, chastised Chen for his unprofessionalism in making the video without prior approval of the Ipoh Police Headquarters.
The word “professionalism” is very subjective and if taken literally what Chen has done is professional, by any measure of guilt. He has done what is expected of him as the officer-in-charge of a police station. And being crude and downright threatening, he has successfully conveyed the message to the underworld. I hail him a people’s hero for taking the fight to the crooks. Unfortunately, there are not many Chens in the Police force today – the ones that do their job of policing to a “T”.
Policing job today, regrettably, involves plenty of politicking and apple-polishing. To be seen on the side of the Establishment remains a priority with the top brass. That explains why our police are prompt when dealing with the Opposition but are slow when it involves the ruling party.
Why have I eluded Chen’s “impropriety” to the Malayan Emergency era is simply because the fight against communism then was very much a police action. It was an internal threat emanating from the outlawed Malayan Communist Party, which required police rather than military action. However, the military was requested to assist the police in subduing communist terrorism.
I had my share of dealing with the police’s Special Branch (SB) when operating in the Rejang Area Security Command (RASCOM) area in Sarawak in the 1970s. The remnants of the North Kalimantan Communist Party, numbering a handful, were active around Sibu, Sarikei, Kanowit and Binatang. They were very elusive and locating them was like looking for a needle in a hay stack. In spite of these, one SB officer stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Lawrence Lim and his boss, Naferi, were instrumental in checkmating the Down River Group and the Oya Mukah Tatau Group led by Hung Chu Teng and Ubong, respectively. The group’s eventual surrender, along with party operatives, in 1990 was an indirect result of the duo’s efforts, employing both psychological and open-warfare tactics.
Lim would beat to a pulp enemy sympathisers and then release them. This was his method of getting the message across the Rejang wilderness. It worked. And I believe Chen’s method will have the desired effect, crude though it may be.
Ah long’s banners and posters have proliferated around the country. It is a nuisance, as they have a tendency to mar the beauty of a housing estate. It is about time the authorities come down hard on the transgressors. Petaling Jaya City Council, I am told, pays residents for bringing in such banners and posters. Ipoh City Council should do the same.