People's sense of insecurity must not be viewed as rubbish by the police officer


Media Statement
by Chong Eng

(Penang, Sunday): The Penang police chief Deputy Commissioner Datuk Othman Talib was reported by Malay Mail saying that a DAP survey which revealed poor perception of people towards the police performance as utter rubbish.

I would agree with Othman Talib that the 212 respondents is too small a number to represent the whole state. Nevertheless, this is the view of 212 ratepayers and the fact that 87.8 percent of them are dissatisfied with the polish performance should be viewed with concern.

In addition, in another poll with 50 participants of a talk on sex-crime, all the 50 participants, mainly women expressed the similar sentiment of dissatisfaction. They all feel unsafe and insecure due to recent shape increased in crime rate.

Police officers like Othman Talib are being entrusted with important task to keep the law and order of the society and the country. They should be more responsive to the views of the public. They should be more open minded in
facing up with the people¡¯s criticisms for police are after all human and capable of making mistake.

Would Othman Talib describe DAP¡¯s poll result as rubbish if it said that majority of the people are happy with the police performance? We understand Othman Talib as the Penang police chief would want to defend the name of the force. However, it is unreasonable of him to describe people¡¯s view of insecurity and dissatisfaction toward police performance as rubbish. His respond in fact showed bad attitude of inability to face up with criticism with an open mind. We expect him to respond in a  more professional manner.

Othman Talib should listen to the advise of  former Inspector General of Police Tun Hanif Omar who has openly told the polish to avoid the denial syndrome when facing public criticism.

Tun Hanif Omar also said that the public was probably reluctant to report crime nowadays because they were disgusted with police personnel who were not keen to investigate thefts, which they regard as petty crime. Would
Othman Talib also describe the view of Hanif Omar as utter rubbish?

Othman said he had stressed many times that no report, no matter how  trivial, should ever refused by any police officer at any station. He can stress a thousand times but this is not proof that such thing did not happen. Police are prohibited from taking bribe. But in reality some police are still doing so. Calling the public who  face difficulty in making police report to see him is not a good solution. The  state police chief has many  more important tasks to perform such as putting in place a more public friendly reporting system and a more efficient police force in fighting

DAP as a responsible political party has not intention to discredit the  police. The survey we did was  an effort to represent the interest and the concern of the people. We view public safety and security as important basic citizens rights. We publish the results of the poll because we feel that the authorities concerned should also know the sense of insecurity among the people and do something to improve the situation.  Othman Talib could propose to the Home Ministry to carry out a proper survey to show that he is concerned about the image of the police in the eyes of the public. Over defensive and emotional respond from him will not do the police force any good.


* Chong Eng, DAP deputy secretary general, Women National Executive Committee chairwoman and MP for Bukit  Mertajam