KUALA LUMPUR: Former inspector-general of police Mohammed Hanif Omar believes that action speaks louder than words.
In view of this, he is unperturbed by the criticism regarding his appointment as the head of the independent panel to probe the police violence during the April 28, Bersih 3.0 rally.
“They can say whatever they like. I mean… what is important is what you are and how you approach things,” Hanif told FMT last night when asked to comment on critics claiming that his appointment rendered the panel a sham.
However, Hanif refrained from speaking more about his appointment since he had not been officially informed.
“I have not received any official confirmation yet. I’ve seen the news on Bernama but there’s no letter yet. So I can’t say much until I am sure as I cannot be pre-empting everything,” he said.
Yesterday, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced the appointment of a six-member panel to “gather actual details on the riots in Kuala Lumpur” following the rally.
Aside from Hanif, the panel would comprise former Chief Justice of Borneo Steve Sim, managing director of Kumpulan Akhbar Sinar Harian Husammuddin Yaacub, Sin Chew Group legal adviser Liew Peng Chuen, Petronas corporate affairs senior general manager Medan Abdullah and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia psychologist Prof Dr Ruszmi Ismail.
Hishammuddin said the panel is expected to hold its first meeting soon to determine its terms of reference and roles.
Hanif’s appointment received flak from opposition leaders as well as electoral reform group Bersih.
‘Communist elements’ remark
Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat said the outcome of the panel’s investigation was already decided based on Hanif’s “prejudice” towards the movement.
“Police would be made to look innocent,” Wong said, adding: “That is as much independence that you can get from the (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) administration.”
Wong was referring to Hanif’s recent statement that Bersih 3.0 had communist elements and was aiming to overthrow the government through a coup.
Hanif was quoted in a Bernama report stating he had recognised pro-communist individuals who were involved in the 1970s demonstrations during Bersih 3.0 based on photographs and images taken from the rally.
“The tactics of using provocateurs to cause the demonstrators to clash with police and to bring children along in the hope they would get injured were tactics learnt from past pro-communist demonstrations,” he had reportedly said.
PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu called Hanif’s appointment an embarrassment and said that the panel was not independent; while DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang urged Hanif to reject the offer.
Hanif, 73, was the longest serving IGP, holding the position for 20 years from 1974 to 1994.
In 1993, he became the only serving public servant to be awarded non-ex-officio Malaysia’s highest non-royal award which carries the titleship of “Tun”.
Recently, Hanif was conferred an honourary Doctor of Laws by the chancellor of the University of Buckingham, Lord Simon Tanlaw, making him the first Malaysian to be conferred such an award from the university.
He holds a basic degree in law from the British university and also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Malaya, Singapore.
Hanif is also the deputy chairman of Genting Malaysia Bhd (formerly known as Resorts World Bhd) and the chairman of General Corporation Bhd and sits on the boards of AMMB Holdings Bhd, AmBank (M) Bhd, AmIslamic Bank Bhd, AMFB Holdings Bhd and AmInvestment Bank Bhd.