UMNO Youth commended for first time in history,  taking  a  more sensitive and  sensible stand than MCA Ministers and leaders in delinking low Chinese ratio in police from patriotism

Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang

(PenangSaturday): UMNO Youth is to be commended for first time in history, taking a more sensitive and sensible stand than MCA Ministers and leaders in delinking the low Chinese ratio in the police force from  patriotism. 

In the past few days, I had specifically criticised MCA Ministers and leaders, headed by MCA President and Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting for equating police service with “patriotism”, as such a line was tantamount to pleading guilty on behalf of the Chinese as lacking in patriotism because of their low ratio in the police force. 

I had even challenged  all MCA Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, State Executive Councillors, MPs and State Assembly members, as well as MCA leaders at all national levels, to  declare how many of their children had served in the police force – and whether absence of such enrolment in the police force  is to be equated with unpatriotic attitudes and actions on the part of the MCA leadership?

I welcome the statement by the UMNO youth public  complaints bureau chief Datuk Subahan Kamal that youths from all races were reluctant to join the police because of low pay and lack of benefits. 

He said the public should not accuse only the Chinese of being unpatriotic and mercenary because Malays also felt the same way about choosing the police force as a career. 

He said: “Nowadays, young Malays prefer to work in factories because the pay is higher and if they do overtime, the pay can reach up to RM1,600 a month. Logically,  anyone would pick a job with higher returns. The police do not offer such returns.” (New Straits Times) 

The UMNO Youth statement has confirmed what I had been saying in the past few days, that the low police wages have turned off not on the Chinese but also the Malays from the police service, and why  the two previous recruitment exercises earlier this year for  4,000 police posts could not find  enough Malays of the right caliber to fill 700 to 800 positions.


The NST front-page story today reported the dismal failure of the first three days of the month-long police recruitment exercise to attract more Chinese youths to join the police force, despite the MCA support. 


Out of the 539 candidates shortlisted to undergo training following the conclusion of the three-day police recruitment exercise in Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan and Sabah, 10 were Chinese  or a miserable 1.85% - even lower than the current 2.57% of Chinese participation in the 86,159-strong police force or 2,221 Chinese police personnel, as recently revealed by the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung.


With such a low percentage of Chinese youths in the police recruitment exercise, how could the government’s target of achieving 10 per cent of Chinese in the police force in two years ever be achieved?


Hypothetically, if the 86,159-strong police force is to be expanded to 100,000 personnel, and the target of 10 per cent Chinese in the police force is to be attained, then the Chinese percentage for the new police recruits would have to be as high as 56% of all new police intake to rectify the long-standing shortfall.  Is this possible, and what is the strategy to achieve the  quantum jump from 1.8 % to 56% Chinese of all new police recruits, where we are talking about an increase not of  100 per cent but over 3,000 per cent!


The restructuring of the police force to ensure a better racial balance reflecting Malaysia’s multi-racial and multi-religious population  must be elevated to a top national priority objective, and for this reason, DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad when presenting the 2004 Budget as Finance Minister  in Parliament on Sept. 12 to announce a four-prong strategy to resolve this problem, viz:


  • Provide competitive salaries and a living wage for lower police ranks by  raising the police starting pay from the lowly RM684 to a living wage of over RM1,000, so that the take-home pay of police constables would be in excess of RM1,500.

  • a new police salary scheme which is 20 per cent higher than other civil servants as in the case of some countries like Japan, Singapore and Britain because the job involved greater stress and higher 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.
  • Recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools as minimum  academic qualification requirement to attract more Chinese youths into the police force.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman