Do you remember the days when the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM Polis DiRaja Malaysia) had the motto "Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah"? This literally translated meant Clean, Proficient and Trustworthy. Given, it sounds hokey in English, but it's really much more fluent and forceful in Bahasa Malaysia.
These days, the PDRM have another motto " Mesra, Cepat dan Betul". This means Friendly, Quick and Correct.
Now, which would you rather have?
A police force which is:
- corruption-free (Bersih / Clean),
- professionally proficient (Cekap / Proficient), and
- trustworthy and dependable (Amanah /Trustworthy)?
OR, a force which is:
- all smiles & touchy feely (Mesra / Friendly),
- does things quickly (Cepat / Quick), and
- does it according to the correct procedure (Betul / Correct)?
To me, it is the former, rather than the latter, that embodies the true qualities of the police force. It underlines the integrity of the force and its commitment to an ethical & professional ideal. There is no room for ambiguity about what their duties, obligations and priorities are.
The current motto emphasises the process to be an efficient policeman. It's more a procedural guideline - for the desk sargeant when processing police reports, for example - rather than a professional code that he aspires to and which guides all his actions.
The PDRM has been under intense scrutiny and criticism by the public and has faced no less than 2 special commissions. Much has been put forward about how the force can be improved. Recommendations ranged from higher pay to better housing. Remediation to bread & butter issues is indeed necessary but we should not neglect the intangible value of pride, respect and trust.
Pride needs to be restored to the police force. Our police officers need to again feel proud to put on the uniform and serve the citizens of this country. And our citizens need to be given due reason to put behind their cynicism & again proffer respect to the police force.
Pride and respect comes from trust.
What better way to instil trust than a return to the code of Bersih, Cekap and Amanah. It should be a guide for everything that the police do and form the basis for all their decisions. Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah makes no excuses and dictates in no uncertain terms what the force's duties, obligations and priorities are. Indeed, Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah is exactly what the public need the most from the police force right now.