2 cases per week of Sanjeevan-type street killing from January-April 2013

Barely two days after the cold blooded shooting of R. Sri Sanjeevan chairman of MyWatch, a crime watchdog, we are shocked by yet another street shooting which eventually caused the life of the founder of Arab-Malaysian Development Bank, Hussain Ahmad Najadi. And yet again, today, it was reported that on the same day Hussain was killed, two other street killings happened in Ipoh and in Jalan Mengkuang, Bukit Mertajam, at the border of my constituency.

In a research done by Penang Institute, it was observed that just by tabulating news reports on gunshot murder of the same kind as above, from January to April this year, there are 38 cases, an average of 2 cases per week. There is no official police statistics available at the time being. (http://penangmonthly.com/gun-killings-on-the-rise/)

The fact is obvious; we are being endangered by rampant criminal activities including these street killings now occurring in public places. And this is because of police inefficiency.

Government’s excuse: Police insufficient resources

Yesterday, in face of the street killings, Prime Minister Najib Razak said that “the government is prepared to give the Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) whatever is needed within reason and affordability to raise the effectiveness of the force in fighting crime, particularly serious crime in the country”. (http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v7/newsindex.php?id=967046)

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that the police is understaffed compared to their counterparts in developed countries, saying that one police officer in Malaysia has to serve 700 people in one area. (http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v7/bm/ge/newsgeneral.php?id=967101)

The question is, is the current problem due to PDRM not having enough resources or manpower?

PDRM’s budget increases annually

In the Home Minister’s response to my question in Parliament last sitting, it was revealed that the allocation to PDRM increases annually.

Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
RM 4,227,300,711 5,277,079,262 5,467,174,194 5,822,244,187 6,253,658,237 6,982,363,311
% n/a 24.83% 3.60% 6.49% 7.41% 11.65%

Table 1: Annual allocation to PDRM from 2007-2012 and its annual increment in percent

In six years, from 2007-2012, police budget increased 65.17%.

Malaysia’s Police:Citizens ratio at international standard

Also from the same Ministerial response; currently, PDRM has 112,583 officers with another 3,196 positions unfilled. This means, given a population of 28-29 million, the police to citizens ratio is about 1:249-258, which is the standard recommended by Interpol, 1:250. Hence to say that PDRM is understaffed is totally inaccurate.

The root cause is a politicised police force

I think it's time we face the elephant in the room.

As I have mentioned in my earlier press statement on Monday, the government is trying to maintain a politicised police force to further their narrow political interest. And because of the government's abuse of the police force, it has created a culture of power abuse within the force itself.

All these resulted in the inefficiency and loss of professionalism on the part of PDRM.

Government’s commitment to fight crime is mere lips service

At the same time, it seems that the government’s commitment to fight crime is merely lips service. They are more willing to put in resources to fight political dissent than to fight crime.

To illustrate my point, I produce below statistics provided by the Home Minister in the same Parliamentary question which I asked. It must be noted that Sdr. Liew Chin Tong and Sdri. Teo Nie Ching asked the same question IN THE SAME SITTING, and curiously the numbers given by the Ministry is different. This, first and foremost, calls into question the integrity of the answers given by the government.

Year Pengurusan KDNKA Logistik JSJ SB Narko JSJK Task Force Total
2011 43,343 32,656 9922 9346 5050 4033 1410 169 105929
2013 (LCT & TNC) 47,764 32,670 9840 10150 n/a 4224 1663 n/a 112,583
2013 (SCK) 45,955 32443 10656 9929 n/a 4239 1719 n/a 112,583

Table 2: Comparison between distribution of police personnel in all departments between 2011 and 2013

The last time the government gave the number of staff in the Special Branch (SB) and the Special Task Force departments was in 2011. In the last Parliamentary sitting, the government refused to provide the number of staff for both departments. These are the “intelligence” arm of PDRM and the Special Branch (SB) among others conducts “political spying” operation, especially against the Opposition.

Thousands of police personnel unaccounted for

However, in the statistics given to us, there are a few thousands of police personnel unaccounted for. Hence, we can only guess these are the staff of both the unreported departments, namely the SB and Special Task Force.

In my reply, the total unaccounted for personnel are 7,642 police officers while Liew and Teo’s reply have 6,272 police officers.

From the data given to me by the Minister, from 2011 to 2013, there is an increase of 6.24% (583 officers) in the number of staff in the Criminal Investigation Department (JSK), while there is a whopping 46.43% increase in the staffing of the SB and Special Task Force. This represented an addition of 2,423 personnel into the intelligence departments.

Even if we take Liew and Teo’s reply to be the actual one, the increase in JSK staff is about 8.60% (804 officers) while the increase in the SB and Special Task Force is about 20.18% (1,053 officers).

I hereby demand the government to confirm the numbers I provided above. And if it is true, this has to stop. Why the government is spending precious police resources to fight political Opposition than to fight crime!?

What is needed is not to add more staff, but to reorganise the police force to increase the number of police officer fighting crime and patrolling the streets to ensure the safety of the people.

Steven Sim Chee Keong National Director of Politial Education, DAPSY & MP for Bukit Mertajam