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Police should admit its error about police-population ratio instead of evading the issue


Media Comment
by Lim Kit Siang

(KLIAThursday): The police should be honest in admitting that they had wrongly advised the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi about the countryís police:population ratio as compared to the developed countries, instead of evading and raising a new issue.

The Bukit Aman Director of Management Comm Kamaruddin  Ali told the Star today about the grave shortage of police in certain built-up area for instance in Subang Jaya, where the police:population is 1:10,870 as there are only 46 policemen including those manning the enquiry dest, lock-up and on general duty while the population is about 500,000. In Johor Bharu, the Central Police Station has 87 officers and men and overlooks a population of 805,152. The ratio is 1:9254. As for Pasir Pinji, Ipoh, it has 43 policemen to protect 140,000 people. The ratio is 1:3255.

The police:population ratio for Malaysia is a different issue for police:population ratio for the built-up area. I fully agree that the police:population ratio for the urban areas as mentioned by Kamaruddin is most shocking and should be rectified immediately, although he did not mention the police:population ratio for other crime black-spots like the various areas in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

In fact, Malaysia is very far behind other foreign capitols  as far as police:population ratio is concerned as for example, New York with less than 45,000 police personnel has a ration of 1:197, London with 24,000 police personnel has a ratio of 1:285, Berlin 1:124, Shefield 1:545, and Manchester 1:376.

Something is clearly very wrong with the sense of priority and deployment of police resources when Malaysia which have a more favourable national police:population ratio than United Kingdom, United State and Germany has such an outrageous police:population ratio for itís urban areas as compared to the capitol cities of the above countries.

The police should not only explain why they made the serious mistake of misinforming the Deputy Prime Minister that Malaysiaís national police:population ration is 1:3000 when it is actually 1:300, they should also explain the reason for the gross misallocation of police personnel to allow for police:population ration as high as 1:10,000 in urban area.

Furthermore, there are no indication that the new recruitment of police personnel totally 23,000 in the next five years would be deployed to strengthen the police strength in those areas with such high police:population ratio. 

There should be a full audit of the deployment and productivity of the entire police force and the misallocation of police personnel and resources in order to make an impact to reduce crime and the fear of crime. There should also be a full review of police policies and approaches as Malaysia must learn from other countries for instance the 500,000 people demonstration in Hong Kong against the Anti-Subversion Law where there was a minimal police presence and mostly to regulate traffic.

(3/7/2003)


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman