DAP proposes a three-point strategy for a successful campaign to recruit more Chinese youths to join the police force to end the outrageously low percentage of 2.57% or 2,221 Chinese out of  86,159 police personnel

Speech (2)
at  the  46th National Day Celebrations themed   “Defend Secular Malaysia” at the Bayan Baru parliamentary constituency
by Lim Kit Siang

(PenangMonday): The revelation by the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung in the Chinese press today that there are only 2,221 Chinese or  2.57% of the 86,159-strong police force is  most shocking and outrageous – and is a terrible reflection on  the failure of responsibility of the two MCA Deputy Home Ministers in the past eight years to ensure that it should never fall below 10 per cent. 

MCA President and Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said last Friday that the Chinese should not think only of monetary remuneration but should also consider a career in the police and armed forces as a noble and challenging one.  (New Straits Times 30.8.03) 

What is the use of Ong uttering such platitudes when he did nothing when he was in the Home Ministry for  nearly 10 years, first as Parliamentary Secretary (1991-1995) and then as Deputy Home Minister (1995 to 1999) to address the problem of the shockingly low percentage of Chinese in the police force – worse than anyone could have dared to guess! 

Can Ong disclose what were  the percentages of Chinese in the police when he was first appointed parliamentary secretary to the Home Ministry in February 1991, when he was promoted to Deputy Home Minister in May 1995 and when he ended his service in the Home Ministry in December 1999, on his appointment as Housing and Local Government Minister?  What did he do when he was in the Home Ministry for some 10 years to deal with this problem? 

Chor’s announcement of the government  target to raise Chinese percentage in the police force  from 2.57 per cent  to 10  per cent in two years is meaningless unless the root causes for the low Chinese enrolment in the police force are recognized and  addressed boldly and imaginatively by the government. Parliament which meets tomorrow for the 40-day 2004 Budget meeting should have a full, constructive and productive debate on this issue, generating ideas to address this problem. 

The month-long campaign from Sept. 2 to Oct. 1 to recruit more Chinese to join the police force should be deferred by one or two months so that the root causes for the low Chinese enrolment in the police force could be identified and addressed. 

DAP proposes  a three-point strategy to create the conducive conditions to provide for greater  multi-racial balance in the police force, viz: 

  • A national effort involving all political parties, whether government or opposition,  and the Chinese community to encourage Chinese youths to enrol in the police force and overcome the traditional cultural aversion to join the police or other uniformed services;
  • Competitive salaries and a living wage for lower police ranks to ensure that they they are not tempted to supplement their income with corrupt practices.  Recent police recruitment exercises have highlighted that the police are now facing problems in getting Malays of the right calibre to fill some 700 to 800 vacant posts because of the meagre pay.   Three years ago, I had proposed a 50 per cent upward revision of the salaries of the lower police grades. Ten years ago, I supported a new police salary scheme which was 20 per cent higher than other civil servants as in the case of some countries like Japan, Singapore and Britain because the job involved stress and risks.
  • Guarantee of meritocracy in police appointments and promotions, and ending all forms of discrimination and  unfair service conditions, such as promotions not based on performance and ability.

If the government is prepared to address these three issues to create  the conducive  conditions of service in the police not only for  Chinese youths but also for all Malaysians, DAP is prepared to fully co-operate with the police in  the campaign to get more Chinese youths to join the police to provide a more ethnically-balanced security service. 

If the government is not prepared to address all these three issues, it is unlikely that its  promotion  campaign to get more Chinese youths to join the police force will meet with much success.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman