Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar's decision to take the middle path in inter-faith custody disputes has drawn the ire of various quarters.
The hardest blow came from a coalition of Indian non-governmental organisations, which asked if Khalid was a "Muslim or policeman first".
"Who is he to decide to put the children in a childcare centre?" asked Malaysian Indian Progressive Association (Mipas) secretary-general S Barathidasan (right).
He told Malaysiakinithat Khalid was behaving like a "clown" and had turned a serious matters into a "comedy".
"Would he act the same if it involves his children or grandchildren?" he asked.
MCA Youth: Quit if you can't do it
In a similar vein, MCA Youth called on Khalid to quit if he was not able to enforce the civil court orders with immediate effect.
MCA Youth secretary-general Leong Kim Soon (left) also described the police chief's "middle path" stand as "ridiculous".
Leong said under the Federal Constitution, the civil court's status was above the syariah court.
"The police should be responsible towards the civil court and should only execute the civil court's ruling.
"It is not up to the police to determine whether to execute a court order or not," he added in a statement.
Leong said since the courts ruled that the child custody be granted to the respective non-converting mothers, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri also opined that the mother should get custody.
"The IGP is in no position to decide on which court order should be followed," he added.
'Malaysians have a right to be worried'
Also taking Khalid to task was Penang BN chief Teng Chang Yeow, who said he was "shocked and deeply disturbed" by the police chief's decision to stay neutral in such cases.
"It's totally uncalled for. The IGP who has been entrusted to enforce the law is now suggesting that a valid and subsisting court order can be ignored for whatever reasons and under whatsoever circumstances.
"Irrespective of one's personal belief or view on the correctness of a particular court order, the said civil High Court order must be obeyed and enforced until and unless it is stayed, set aside or reversed by the court,” Teng said in a message to Malaysiakini.
Teng (left), who is also Penang Gerakan chief, said Khalid had overstepped his constitutional authority by openly suggesting an alternative legal solution.
He added that this sort of statements and actions obviously fly in the face of the Federal Constitution and Malaysians have every reason to fear for the future of this country, especially if such statements and actions come from the head of police in the country.
Teng said the wheels of justice would grind to halt if law enforcement officers allow their personal beliefs, prejudices and preferences, no matter how genuine and sincere they are, to influence them in discharging their constitutional and professional duties.
"All law enforcement agencies in general, and the police in particular in this matter, are duty-bound to uphold the rule of law and enforce it at all times, under whatever circumstances.
"It's not for any law enforcement agency in this country to question the correctness or otherwise of a particular court order as that is the duty of the judiciary.
"Similarly it is not for them to dispute whether a particular government policy is right or wrong, good or bad, as that is the responsibility of politicians," he added.
In the wake of conflicting orders from the syariah and civil courts, Khalid said yesterday the police would take the middle path in these cases.
He said the police would place the children in child care centres and thus would not enforce the decisions of the two courts.
"In this way, their parents have the opportunity to visit them," Khalid had said.