DAP offers to help the police in the campaign to get more Chinese youths to join the police force, but wishes first to discuss with police and government on the root causes as to why Chinese made up less than five per cent of the 85,000-strong force
- when launching the DAP Bukit Bendera 46th National Day Nitewalk at Telok Bahang Dam
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): DAP offers to help the police in the campaign to get more Chinese youths to join the police force, but wishes to first discuss with police and government on the root causes as to why Chinese made up less than five per cent of the 85,000-strong force.
As a first step, any attempt or suggestion attacking or doubting the loyalty and patriotism of the Chinese youths for not enrolling in the police force must be deplored and stopped, for this is completely without basis.
This is why I was very shocked when I read in the New Sunday Times this morning the statement by a MCA leader and Member of Parliament for Bentong, Liow Tiong Lai, who is also MCA youth secretary-general, who urged Chinese youths to join the police as “it is also a sign of patriotism”.
Why is the MCA and MCA youth succumbing to the bad influence of certain irresponsible UMNO leaders who are ever so quick to attack or doubt the loyalty and patriotism of the Malaysian Chinese, as for instance, the Minister for Culture, Arts and Tourism, Datuk Kadir bin Haji Sheikh Fadzir, who has still not apologized for openly alleging that the Malaysian Chinese lacked patriotism and were ungrateful because of their lack of enthusiasm to fly the national flag for the Merdeka Month celebrations spearheaded by him?
The issue of patriotism or loyalty is completely irrelevant to the problem of poor Chinese representation in the police force. In fact, the police force is now even facing the problem of recruiting enough Malays of the right caliber to join the police force, as illustrated by the results of the last two police recruitment exercises to fill 4,500 vacancies.
The police is starting a month-long campaign from Sept. 2 to Oct. 1 to recruit more Chinese to join the police force. The DAP is prepared to give full support to encourage Chinese youths to join the police force as it is important that the police should reflect the multi-racial population, not only because the security of the nation is the responsibility of every Malaysian but also to ensure efficient police investigations and policing.
However, before any such recruitment campaign is launched, there should be a serious attempt to address the root causes for the low Chinese percentage in the police force as this has been a long-standing problem.
There is the cultural problem, the alleged Chinese psychology of being averse to serving as a policeman or soldier – which could be addressed and overcome as illustrated by the experience of other countries.
There are however other problems which must also be addressed. Police pay is one, which is a problem which affects all policemen. Three years ago, I had proposed a 50 per cent upward revision of the salaries of the lower police ranks to ensure that they have a living wage and are not tempted to supplement their take-home pay with corrupt practices.
Apart from competitive salaries, there is the very serious problem of discrimination or unfair promotion prospects, which are not strictly based on performance, ability and meritocracy. This is not a problem confined to the police force as it afflicts the entire public service – which is vividly illustrated by the signal failure to appoint a single non-Malay as a Vice Chancellor for the country’s public universities although it had multiplied from one in the sixties to 17 public universities at present.
Unless the problem of meritocracy is addressed, ensuring appointment and promotions strictly based on performance and ability, then the authorities must bear responsibility for perpetuating conditions of service which caused the under-representation of Chinese in the police force.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman