Does Malaysia hold the world record in having a police force which has the highest concentration of police personnel not assigned to crime fighting to protect the citizens but to inconsequential tasks like providing escorts for VIPs and to protect the political regime?
by Lim Kit Siang
(Kota Kinabalu, Friday): Instead of clarifying the air and restoring public confidence, the even more confusing explanations by the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung, the Bukit Aman Director of Management Comm Kamaruddin Ali and the CID Director Comm Datuk Seri Salleh Mat Som about police personnel and their duties are latest blows only serve to shatter further public confidence on police professionalism, competence and capability, following closely in the wake of the brutal Canny Ong abduction-rape-murder crime and police mishandling of the case as a substantial segment of the public are not convinced that Canny Ong could not have been saved with a more committed, capable and professional police force.
If the Police and government cannot do proper mathematics about the number of police personnel, and are unable to reconcile satisfactorily and convincingly the conflicting and gaping police:population ratio between 1:300 and 1:3,000, and cannot be clear-headed about police division of responsibilities, the rot in the police leadership and the scandal of mismanagement must be even more serious than the worst fears of the public.
After close to a week of notice to reconcile the conflicting police:population ratio between 1:300 to 1:3000, Chor’s explanation yesterday is a most pathetic one, which does not enhance public confidence in either the police or the Home Ministry.
Chor claimed that the 1:3000 ratio stated by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was not the average ratio, but the ratio in places where the population was high and after deducting the number of police personnel in departments, which were not involved in crime fighting or traffic duties.
Chor should not believe that Malaysians are so gullible that they could so easily fall for such a flimsy explanation. DAP challenges the Home Ministry and the Police to give a full breakdown of data about total police personnel, and their division into the various categories of responsibilities in the different police districts and units where the differences between the two ratios of 1:300 for the nation and 1:3000 in certain areas could be fully reconciled.
The statement by Salleh that the police crime-fighters numbered less than 6,000 to handle 240,000 crimes reported annually – with less than half of them investigating officers – is most shocking and outrageous. (Star 3.7.03).
It is a most irresponsible misdeployment and misallocation of police personnel where only some seven per cent of the 85,000 police personnel are assigned to fight crime, when this should be the most important police agenda involving at least 30 per cent of the police personnel.
With half of the 6,000 police assigned to fighting crime allocated investigation responsibilities, this means that in the whole country there are only about 3,000 police personnel or 3.5 per cent of the entire police force involved in the police beat – which is the most important visible and tangible sign of robust public police presence to reduce crime and the fear of crime!
Chor said some 50 per cent of the police personnel are assigned to duties such as providing escort or serving in the logistics and administrative departments.
I want to ask whether Malaysia holds the world record in having a police force with the highest concentration of its police personnel not assigned to crime fighting to protect the people to ensure the safety of streets, public spaces and homes, but to inconsequential tasks of providing escorts for VIPs or to protect the political regime and suppress the legitimate activities of the citizens to express or assemble peacefully?
The confusing, conflicting and confounded explanations given by Chor and police officers in the past few days have only underlined the urgent need for a full public inquiry into the police function in the country to usher in far-reaching police reforms to reduce crime and the fear of crime, as it is the most powerful evidence that fighting crime is too important a national business to be left solely to the police and the Home Ministry without the closest scrutiny and monitoring by the civil society.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman