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by Lim Guan Eng
Tan Sri Musa Bin Dato' Hj. Hassan,
Ketua Polis Negara,
Polis Diraja Malaysia (RMP),
Ibu Pejabat Polis Bukit Aman, 50560 Kuala Lumpur.
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri,
Accomplishing Performance, Integrity And Accountability To Return Ownership Of PDRM To Malaysians
The Royal Malaysian Police(RMP) plays an integral part in the lives and well-being of 26 million ordinary Malaysians. This is reflected in RMP’s Vision statement of 'PDRM as the lead enforcement agency in upholding the rule of law, maintenance of peace, public order and national security'.
Under Tan Sri’s new leadership, there have been high public expectations that RMP can put behind abuses and actions of the few black sheep amongst the police that have severely tarnished RMP’s image and finally come to grips with the RMP’s primary duty of combating crime to make the streets in Malaysia safe to walk, work and live, especially for women and children.
Public perception of RMP is still remote from RMP’s motto of “Mesra, Cepat dan Betul”. The time has come for accomplishing performance, integrity and accountability to return ownership of PDRM to ordinary Malaysians. Such objectives can be largely achieved through the adoption of the 125 recommendations made by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and the Management of the Royal Malaysia Police.
The report identifies three major challenges, namely:
The report acknowledges that the consequence of these three challenges is that there is a breakdown of public trust and confidence in the police force which is “generally viewed as inefficient, uncaring, unable to prevent or check crime.” It added that “infringements of human rights are extensive and PDRM is not seen as being transparent or accountable to the public.” (page 179)
As the Commission state eloquently in its Mission Statement:
Endorsing The IPCMC
The high profile murder of a Mongolian model by elite police personnel is but one example of “harap pagar jaga padi, pagar makan padi”. But there are many other cases of police committing crimes that they are sworn to prevent.
As such it is crucial that the RMP endorses the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints Misconduct Commission(IPCMC) to check endemic corruption and abuse of power where complaints of such abuses of powers from various states are attached together with submissions by other DAP Members of Parliament present. Tan Sri can also look into other abuses such as those prevalent in the Traffic Division with police personnel actively doubling as runners and ‘agents” for legal firms that affect the administration of justice in such cases.
DAP fully supports Tan Sri’s commitment to the public to fight crime especially the 3 priority areas of snatch thefts, armed robberies and drug trafficking. However the numbers of police personnel fighting crime, especially in the Criminal Investigation Department(CID) are grossly inadequate.
Increasing Police Personnel To Fight Crime In Line With Interpol’s 1:250
Malaysia's current ratio of police to the population is far lower than Interpol's requirement of 1:250 or one policeman for every 250 people, whilst the ratio in Malaysia was 1:1,573. Malaysia needs at least 60,000 extra police personnel to conform to Interpol standards. However Malaysia’s present figure of 1:1,573 is even lower if calculated on the basis of crime-fighting police personnel.
From press reports, there are only 8,000 police personnel in the CID to make our streets safe for 26 million Malaysian throughout the country or 1:3,250. With crime spiraling out of control in our cities where students are killed on the streets for their handphones, slashed with parangs for RM 2, openly robbing and carting away the entire ATM machines from banks which are supposed to be very well-guarded, how much can 8,000 policemen do?
In other words, the ratio of 1 policemen for every 3,250 Malaysian is too low. The Royal Commission of Police recommended an extra 35,000 men be redeployed from other services in RMP for crime fighting purposes. This will beef up the crime-fighting unit to 43,000 men or 47% of the present police force of 92,000 men.
With 43,000 men fighting crime the ratio would be 1 policemen for every 605 Malaysian, a much more reasonable ratio for the police to effectively fight crime and closer to Interpol’s recommended 1:250. Only by increasing police personnel in crime prevention from 8,000 to 43,000 or 47% of the police force, can the people feel safe that the police are serious in catching criminals.
Such pessimism and distrust in the performance of the police is borne out by the latest national crime index rising by an alarming 12.6% over the first nine months this year. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili revealed that there were 170,481 crimes reported from January to September 2006 as compared to 151,444 crimes reported for the same period last year.
Sabah has the highest crime index in the country until it is known not as the “Land Below The Winds” but as the “Land Above The Laws”. So bad is the situation that the police in Sabah appears unable to protect themselves or even enter crime-infested hideouts.
Another aspect critical to Tan Sri’s efforts to turn the RMP into a professional force is to prevent the RMP from being used as a political tool to serve the interests of the ruling party against opposition parties. Opposition parties are legal political bodies registered and recognized by the law and we have a legitimate role to perform by providing checks and balances in a democracy.
Sadly, opposition parties such as the DAP have always found ourselves at the receiving end of close attention and supervision to the extent that some elements in the Special Branch are as active in “hunting” and prosecuting us as our political opponents in the ruling party. DAP leaders stand by what we say, not by things that we do not say but Special Branch claim we say without any recorded evidence.
Apart from the need to recognize human rights, there is also a need to be more sensitive to children and women. More efforts should be made to increase trained officers able to handle these victims of violence and sexual abuses. Equally, the RMP should also have a more diverse and multi-racial representation.
We wish to record our appreciation for the sacrifices and hard work put in by police personnel, especially those who were injured or lost their lives in carrying out their duties. For this reason, DAP has consistently supported an increase in pay and allowances for police personnel facing such dangers and risk.
No words are adequate to pay homage to these heroes and heroines but we should not allow the few black sheep to detract the memories of their. No greater honour can be accorded them than to fulfill their aspiration of making the RMP as equally well-respected and loved by the public as feared by criminal elements.
LIM GUAN ENG