KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador said today that after his optional retirement almost three years ago just as the 1MDB scandal erupted, it never crossed his mind that he would one day return to be the Inspector-General of Police.
He said that since his retirement in 2016, he had heard rumblings as to the direction and performance of the Royal Malaysia Police and this drove him to ponder how wonderful it would be if he were to helm the force armed with the feedback he had received.
“I would have been able to translate the feedback I received from the ground, the village folk, into the new vision and mission of the Royal Malaysia Police that was my dream. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), I am now the Inspector-General of Police (IGP),” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama at the Bukit Aman Police headquarters here.
Abdul Hamid, who was appointed as the IGP on May 4, said his decision to retire as the Special Branch deputy director was appropriate because he could not come to grips with his transfer then from the force to the Prime Minister’s Department.
“I felt it would be wrong for me to carry on. So, I decided to retire in all sincerity. After my retirement, I did not appear in public and I did not show that I was interested in getting involved in the affairs of the nation,” he said.
“Firstly, for your information, I am the son of a policeman. I was born in a police barracks, raised in a police barracks. My late father was a constable or mata-mata (in Malay). Deep within me are the ins and outs of the life of a policeman,” said Abdul Hamid who hails from Rembau, Negri Sembilan.
After retirement, he said, he did not think that he would be recalled one day but he was grateful for the changes that were taking place in the administration of the country.
With the change of government following the 14th General Election (GE14) on May 9 last year, he hoped for a change that would bring about a transformation in the country.
“I did not have any expectations or hopes when I was recalled to serve again. The surprise call came four or five days after GE14,” he said, recalling the events that brought him back to the Royal Malaysia Police.
Abdul Hamid said he received a call from an officer in the Prime Minister’s Department who said he was required to come to the Perdana Leadership Foundation office in Putrajaya before 3pm.
When he received the call at 11 am, Abdul Hamid was in his vegetable farm in Rembau and had to rush back home to find the right attire to present himself before Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I found an old jacket in my house. I drove straight from my kampung to Putrajaya. At our meeting, Tun (Dr) Mahathir said that he wanted me to return to work and assist him.
“He offered me the post of Special Branch director. I informed Tun that there may be some confusion or technical problem because I had already retired.
“However, the Prime Minister told me he will ask the Chief Secretary to the Government then to settle the matter,” he said.
Abdul Hamid was told by Dr Mahathir that returning as the prime minister 15 years after having left the government, he faced many problems because he did not know “who was a friend and who was a foe” and this may jeopardise any plan to establish the dynamic government that he wanted.
As it was a request from the prime minister, Abdul Hamid said, he agreed to take up the offer and had to sign a document which was a one-year contract as the Special Branch director.
Asked whether, at that time, there was the talk of him being appointed the IGP, Abdul Hamid said: “There were indications from Tun Dr Mahathir and Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that they wanted me to helm the Royal Malaysia Police earlier.
“With due respect, I rejected the offer and instead proposed several names for the posts of IGP and Deputy IGP. I handed the proposed names personally to Tun and the Home Minister.
“After that, I did not know of my being offered the post of IGP, but there was such gossip in November. It was true that the Home Minister himself had stated then that he received a directive from the Prime Minister wanting me to helm the force, but once again I asked for the matter to be considered,” he said.
Then, last April, Abdul Hamid said, he was called up by the Prime Minister and was asked who he would pick or propose as the Deputy IGP.
Abdul Hamid said the Prime Minister asked him to propose several names for his consideration.
He said it did not come as a surprise when Datuk Mazlan Mansor, then Commercial Crime Investigation Department director, was appointed the Deputy IGP.
“I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to helm the Royal Malaysia Police in accordance with my vision and mission.
“I am also thankful that the Prime Minister felt it was better to allow Tan Sri Fuzi Harun to complete his service as the IGP until the date of his retirement (on May 4),” Abdul Hamid said. — Bernama