IGP: Special Branch won’t entertain request for its men to identify selves at political events

Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador speaks during a press conference at Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur May 15, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador speaks during a press conference at Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur May 15, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador said Special Branch officers will not depart from their covert methods for intelligence gathering.

Hamid was commenting on Parti Warisan Sabah vice-president Datuk Junz Wong’s suggestion yesterday for Special Branch officers to identify themselves to organisers if they intend to attend his party’s or Sabah government events.

When asked if police will comply with this, the IGP said it was unlikely.

“No, I don’t think so,” said Hamid who was previously the head of the Special Branch.

“Police won’t follow any other people's instructions... we won’t comply with such a request and we will continue to do our job.”

He also said such remarks, even coming from state ministers, would not change how the police, or its intelligence unit, perform their duties.

The IGP was speaking after the official ceremony for Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim, who retired on March 17, to hand his duties as the deputy inspector-general of police to Datuk Mazlan Mansor.

Hamid also stressed that there was no reason for the police to change their standard operating procedures as there hadn’t been any such issue previously in the force’s 212 years of existence.

The IGP also joked that his agency might need more funds from the Home Ministry if certain parties insist on making the Special Branch identify themselves at their events.

“I think I will ask a certain budget from the home minister so that we can prepare cards to identify ourselves," he said to laughter from the around 50 media members present.

Hamid further stressed the police and the Special Branch were performing their duties with good intentions and in service to all, adding that presence of law enforcement personnel — covert or otherwise — meant additional security for event organisers.

Yesterday, Wong alleged of instances when unknown individuals attended press conferences masquerading as reporters.

He said if these individuals were police intelligence officers, they should simply announce themselves instead of pretending to be press workers so that organisers may allocate space for them.

Wong, who is Sabah’s agriculture and food industries minister, added that the unexpected attendees sometimes crowded out genuine media workers and hampered the latter from performing their duties.

However, he denied his party regularly prohibited Special Branch personnel from observing its press conferences and insisted that this has only occurred once or twice.

He clarified that Warisan and Sabah government events were open to all including Special Branch officers.

Wong then said the issue was not about barring specific groups from events but the need for them to properly identify themselves.

*A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected. 

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