Norian Mai should end his denial syndrome that low pay and unsatisfactory working conditions are the major causes for the low percentage of Chinese participation in the police force and asks for a four-prong solution in the 2004 budget

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaTuesday): The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai,  should end his denial syndrome that low pay and unsatisfactory working conditions are the major causes for the low percentage of Chinese participation in the police force and instead should boldly address the root causes to multi-racialise the police force as a matter of national urgency. 

Norian said yesterday that low salaries was not  the main cause, as compared to the  reluctance of the  Chinese youths to be bound by the discipline of the police force and their preference to do business. 

This is an out-moded and  stereotyped view, which could not explain for the police and other uniformed services in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, which are fully manned by the Chinese in these territories. 

At least, one must be thankful that the IGP has not trotted out misguided notions equating the police service  with patriotism, which was still the standard approach of MCA Ministers and leaders up to a few days ago, until the opinion of the UMNO youth public  complaints bureau chief Datuk Subahan Kamal last Friday shamed them to end such rubbishy arguments.

Subahan said  youths from all races were reluctant to join the police because of low pay and lack of benefits. I had earlier been pointing out that the low police wages have turned off not on the Chinese but also the Malays from the police service, and this was 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.

It is most regrettable that the government and the police are sending confused and conflicting signals about the root causes of low Chinese participation in the police force. 

In response to DAPís consistent call that the government must address the grave problem of low salaries of police constables, the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung made front-page headline news in the Chinese press yesterday with the announcement  that the salary structure of the police would be reviewed to attract more youths to join the police force.  Did he have the authority of the government to make such an announcement? 

This question must be asked as  Chorís announcement was  immediately contradicted by Norian Mai yesterday.   Was  Chorís announcement a mere  diplomatic or political statement with no real meaning  and consequences or a serious statement reflecting a new  government policy decision to review police salaries. 

DAP calls on Chor, Norian and  al government and police authorities not to play games on this issue and address this problem with all the seriousness it deserves. 

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