Debunking the link between pay and police corruption

Building integrity to combat police corruption

11 Feb 2024 10:01am
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Illustrated by Sinar Daily
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Illustrated by Sinar Daily

The discussion on low salaries among police officers as a cause of corruption is an interesting topic for debate.

I agree with Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin on this matter when he said that low salaries are not the main cause of corruption among police officers in our country.

Low salaries are not the main cause of corruption among police officers in our country.

In discussing this matter, we must delve into the root level of police officers.

Firstly, priority should be given to ensuring that every new recruit, from the initial stage of training, whether in classrooms or on the field, is exposed to the dangers and adverse effects of corruption from the beginning.

Every cadet should be informed from the early stage that corruption must be fought against, and a disdain towards the practice of corruption must be instilled in every phase of training.

The police force should instill moral values among those who aspire to become police officers.

Values such as honesty, integrity, and refraining from misconduct are crucial values to instill in every new recruit.

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When we say that salaries are the main cause, this cannot be accepted outright.

Just because their salaries are low does not mean they have to resort to corruption.

Among police officers, there are also cases where high-ranking officers with decent salaries are involved in corrupt activities.

This shows that corruption does not occur because of the small amount of income they have but rather because of the greed and misconduct of the individuals themselves.

Greed is what leads to corrupt practices.

Therefore, to combat corruption among officers, what can be highlighted is treating corruption cases as a very serious matter and fighting against it as much as possible to prevent this despicable practice from occurring.

Although salary is not a primary factor in the occurrence of corruption, we should not allow officers serving our country to remain with salaries that can only be categorised as urban poor.

In this regard, my suggestion is that the government should focus on the salary levels of low-ranking officers so that they can lead a decent life while serving the public and the country.

Here, the government can reconsider the salary scale of police officers and propose appropriate salary increases from time to time; not by giving excessively high salaries but at least commensurate with the current economic situation.

For officers in urban areas who receive the same salary rates as those in rural areas, the government can propose hardship allowances for officers in urban areas who have a higher cost of living than those in rural areas.

This way, police officers will not be burdened with financial problems, especially those serving in urban areas facing economic challenges.

Finally, my hope for those interested in becoming police officers is not to make wealth accumulation their main objective in holding this position.

Instead, being a police officer is aimed at serving the country and ensuring that society is in a safe and peaceful environment.

Being a police officer is a noble task where they should be respected by providing the best service to the nation and the country.

* Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye is the Chairman of the Alliance For A Safe Community (Ikatan)