22/03/2013: A normally cool inspector-general of police (IGP) Ismail Omar today blew his top over former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh's claim that his policemen have been destroying identity cards and other identification documents belonging to the Sabah Suluk community.
"I do not entertain any kind of rubbish talk... I have got no time for wild allegations - whether they are playing politics or what.
“If you say that, then bring me the evidence,"
he told journalists during a special interview session with the media at the Bukit Aman police headquarters this afternoon.
As he elaborated on the matter, his voice grew louder and he began slamming his fist on the table, his face contorted in anger.
"I have been quiet for some time, but let me say it right now! I don't entertain this rubbish talk. We are facing a situation (in Lahad Datu, where) my men have died.
"Even right now they are at the frontlines and their lives are at stake. Do you think this is playing around?" he exclaimed, as the room of surprised journalists looked on at his outburst.
Ismail said he feels slighted by the various allegations made against the police in a time when his men were risking their lives against the Sulu intruders in Lahad Datu.
'Don’t question police’
"What we need now is patriotism. It's not a time for (criticism)... I have heard a few statements made by certain people, I feel very sad at this point of time.
"If the police are no good, tell me how to improve. If you have money, give the money so I can buy more weapons and cars, not say this and that.
“It's irresponsible, it's not the time for this," said an agitated Ismail.
The IGP then praised the courage of his men and warned against toying with issues of national security.
“Stop! My message to all those responsible (for such allegations) is, stop all these nonsense,” he said at the top of his voice as the room fell into a moment of awkward silence.
Sabah-based newspaper Daily Express quoted Salleh claiming that police were destroying identity cards and work permits of the Suluk community in Lahad Datu and Semporna, following the clash between security forces and Filipino Sulu intruders.
Ismail said they treated everyone with dignity, even the enemy, dead or alive in accordance with international conventions.
"If we believe they were Muslims, we would clean the bodies and conduct Muslims funeral rites for them - these are the enemies," he said.
Ismail later regained his composure and apologised for his behaviour, requesting television media present not to air his outburst although he allowed for it to be reported in print.
"These Suluk leaders reported that police are taking Identity Cards, Red Identity Cards and the IMM13 documents (of the Suluk people) and destroy them.
"This is unbecoming of a Malaysian police force. This behaviour is against any known civilisation, be it religions, laws and policies of the Malaysian government,"
Harris Salleh former Sabah Chief Minister