KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Putrajaya revealed today that it has taken action against 24 police officers for losing their guns over the last three years, according to deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar.
Wan Junaidi said that 13 officers were slapped with disciplinary action for the offence in 2010, followed by four others in 2011 and another seven the following year.
“We may call it disciplinary action, but it is more serious than it sounds. It is more like a court martial for the police,” he said in response to Seremban MP Anthony Loke during question time in Parliament.
Wan Junaidi said the police have clear guidelines for managing its weapons inventory, which includes a comprehensive probe by senior police officers that is similar to the military’s court martial.
“Those who are found negligent in cases such as car break-ins or losing their guns in the toilet will face the stiffest penalties,” he said during question time in Parliament.
Wan Junaidi was referring to a written reply yesterday by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who said that the 44 guns that went missing from the police’s inventory were lost either during car break-ins, in the toilet or in the office, among other reasons.
The missing firearms were highlighted by the Auditor-General in his 2012 report released on October 2, which homed in on some RM1.33 million worth of police assets that have gone missing between the years 2010 and 2012.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar later claimed that the missing guns could have “fallen into the sea”, when deflecting criticism against the police for the lack of accountability over the missing weapons.
Khalid, however, insisted that the police have checked the identification codes of the missing weapons and confirmed that they were not used for any criminal activity recently.
Ahmad Zahid himself had backed Khalid’s claim, saying that “sometimes, the guns (could get) lost in operations”, and added that the police are not guilty of any malpractice.
Wan Junaidi today noted that such incidents must be viewed on a case-to-case basis, as not every officer deliberately loses his firearm.
He took the example of a police officer who was on duty in Sarawak and had to jump into the river to push the boat that they were using while on duty.
“At times you don’t know how deep the river is at a given point, but he had to jump in to help push the boat across. By the time he got back in the boat, he realised he had already lost his gun.
“Of course we know the gun is in the river, but in those kind of situations recovery would be very difficult. In such a case, we can’t really take such heavy action against him,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi said the police have seized a total of 1,097 firearms of various types from civilians from 2008 to September this year.
The confiscated weapons include 406 semi-automatic pistols, 164 revolvers, 31 rifles, 91 shotguns, 120 airguns, 22 pump-action guns, three sub-machine guns, 38 hand grenades and 218 homemade guns.
“All the seized firearms are currently exhibits that need to be presented in court. The court will later determine whether the firearms will be destroyed or subject to other action,” he said.