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by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday
): DAP congratulates Penang Police Chief Datuk Christopher Wan Soo Kee as the first Malaysian Chinese to be promoted to Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Director with the rank of acting Commissioner of Police. This bold move by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan is clearly intended to show that promotion will be judged by performance and merit as well as encourage more non-Malays, especially Chinese, to join the police force.
For Christopher to fulfill the expectations of the IGP, he will be judged not by the increase in the number of non-Malays joining the police force. He will be judged solely by his ability to check and reduce the rising crime rate that is practically tearing up and down the country. Christopher has an envious task to restore confidence in a public critical of the performance of the police in the wake of frequent robberies, snatch thefts and violent crimes causing injuries, deaths and financial losses. The inability of the police is compounded by public impression of widespread corruption and abuse of power amongst the police.
The seriousness of the rising crime rate is highlighted by openly robbing and carting away the entire ATM machines from banks which are supposed to be very well-guarded. Many Malaysians have no sense of security and are afraid to walk out in their streets and neighbourhoods as well as feel unsafe in their own homes.
Such pessimism and distrust in the performance and competence of the police is borne out by the latest national crime index rising by 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.
Property crimes accounted for 113,939 cases, a 13.9% increase from 100,061 cases last year. Of greater concern was the 18% increase in the number of violent crimes committed from 30,572 to 36,077 cases where rape cases totalled 1,833 compared to 1,384 and murder cases increased from 375 to 473 cases over the same period last year.
The 12.6% increase in the national crime index is alarming in that it shows that police efforts to fight crime has not achieved any success. Musa had even made a commitment to the public to fight crime especially the 3 priority areas of snatch thefts, armed robberies and drug trafficking.
He had even redeployed over 800 policemen doing desk duties at the Federal police headquarters to criminal work to allow more of his men to protect the people, reduce criminal activities and nab criminals. DAP is disappointed that Musa can only redeploy an extra 800 police personnel for can this small number make any difference and be sufficient to be fulfill his commitment in these 3 priority areas?
When Christopher becomes the CID Director he will take charge of only 8,000 criminal investigation department officials protecting the public from criminals throughout the country. Re-Deploying 800 police personnel doing desk duties to augment the present 7,000 criminal investigation department officials is insufficient(bei xui zhe xin) to fight crime when 35,000 more police personnel is recommended by The Royal Commission Of Police to make our streets safe for 26 million Malaysian throughout the country. With crime spiraling out of control in our cities where students are killed on the streets for their handphones or slashed with parangs for RM 2, how much can 8,000 (after the extra 800 men) police personnel do?
In other words, the ratio of 1 policemen for every 3,250 Malaysian is too low. The Royal Commission of Police agrees that this is inadequate for the police to carry out its primary duties of maintaining law and order as well as fighting crime. It had suggested that an extra 35,000 men be redeployed for crime fighting purposes. This will beef up the crime-fighting unit to 42,000 men or almost 46% of the present police force of 92,000 men. With 42,000 men fighting crime the ratio would be 1 policemen for every 619 Malaysian, a much more reasonable ratio for the police to effectively fight crime.
With only 8,000 policemen fighting crime, the public is unhappy that they are paying for 92,000 policemen but 84,000 policemen do not carry out their primary duties to catch snatch thieves, robbers and drug traffickers. Only by increasing police personnel in crime prevention from 7,000 to 42,000 or 46% of the police force, can the people feel safe that the police are serious in catching criminals.
Neither Christopher Wan nor any police officer can check the crime index which rose by 12.6% with only 8,000 policemen in criminal investigations department when 42,000 are required to make the public and our neighbourhood safe. The time has come to increase the number of policemen to fight crime so that there will be 42,000 policemen on the streets working to catch criminals and make our towns and streets safe for us, especially women and children.
The public demands that 42,000 or 42% of our country’s 92,000 policemen should be protecting us and making our country safe from crime. It is unacceptable for the public that the taxpayers are paying for 8% of the police to fight crime whereas 92 % of the policemen to do work that is unrelated to crime prevention.
If the IGP wants Christopher or any crime-fighting police officer to succeed, Tan Sri Musa must give the tools and provide adequate men to successfully carry out their duties. No general would lead his army into a charge in a battle when he has insufficient men and is outnumbered by the enemy. For the same reasons, Tan Sri Musa must commit himself and convince the government to increase the police personnel in crime prevention not by 800 but by 35,000 extra men. It is a crime in itself if Malaysian citizens are protected by a too small police force from criminals or police lives endangered by having too few policemen.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP