MP SPEAKS Reprioritising the tasks of police personnel is the way forward to lower the crime rate and safeguard our families instead of "chasing shadows" in the BN government's obsession with regime security.
Recently, national debate about whether the recent spike in crimes was mere ‘perception' has captured headlines and fuelled a blame game. However, police distribution is an important factor that has escaped public notice. Statistics will show a clearer picture of what is hindering the men in blue from making us feel safe.
As of January 2011, for every uniformed police handling crime, there are six in non-crime sectors. This means six times as many police officers are tasked with non-crime related jobs, than those who are fighting crime.
It is a sobering fact that the Criminal Investigation Department makes up only 9 percent, or 9,346, of the total 105,929 uniformed police force. No wonder we feel unsafe!
Overall, barely 14 percent of the uniformed police force is in crime-related departments (criminal investigation department, narcotics and commercial crime investigation).
Meanwhile, a whopping 86 percent of police personnel belong to the non-crime related sectors (management, internal security and public order, logistics, special branch, and special task force).
Could this be due to the BN government's obsession with regime security by placing emphasis on the surveillance of political foes, resulting in such a cock and bull story of Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terrorists and former communists who have supposedly infiltrated Pakatan Rakyat as alleged by the Special Branch?
These startling figures were revealed by the Home Ministry in a written parliamentary reply during last year's parliamentary session. The Home Ministry has refused to answer a similar question at this year's parliamentary session.
In 2005, the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission of Inquiry Report made recommendations on transforming the Malaysian police into an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service focussed on three core functions - to keep crime low, to eradicate corruption and to uphold human rights.
The total number of uniformed police personnel has increased from 82,135 in 2001 to 105,929 a decade later. (Civilian staff in the police force is not included in the statistics). Throughout the years, there has not been changes in the distribution of personnel among departments despite public concern over the increase crime.
For instance, in 2011, 41 percent of uniformed police are in management, 31 percent internal security and public order, 9 percent in logistics, 5 percent in Special Branch, whereas the Criminal Investigation Department only had 9 percent of the uniformed personnel.
The police was given an allocation of RM4.5 billion in 2010, RM5.8 billion in 2011 and RM6.3 billion in 2012 respectively. There is an increase of RM1.8 billion, or 40 percent, between 2010 and 2012.
Consistently in the past three years, the Criminal Investigation Department has received only 8 percent of the total allocation. Talk about misplaced priorities!
There is no point quarrelling over statistics unless the government is willing to move beyond its own obsession with regime security and take measures to prioritise the safety of ordinary Malaysians.
LIEW CHIN TONG is DAP MP for Bukit Bendera.