Malaysiakini Letter

Solving dispute on ratio of police to population

Lam Choong Wah  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Often times, when we do nothing and keep silent on blatant lying, it will only perpetuate the lies. This is the reason why I write this comment.

First off, I must praise MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar for her suggestion to redeploy the police force to focus more on frontline enforcement instead of recruiting more police personnel, even though this suggestion may invite more political attacks from BN.

According to Nurul, the current police to population ratio has reached 1:270 (1 personnel to 270 people) which is very near to 1:250 benchmark set by the Interpol.

Therefore her idea was simply for the police to reprioritise its tasks, which should be to fight crimes instead of focusing on increasing the Federal Reserve Unit's manpower count.

In addition, she cited a parliamentary answer made on Nov 1 to back her argument, in which the home affairs minister told Parliament that the current ratio of police personnel to population was 1:270.

However, the Director of Bukit Aman Management Department, Mortadza Nazarene, rebutted Nurul's statement on Dec 3 that the actual ratio was 1:500.

By using Mortadza's rebuttal, BN-linked media have launched attacks on Nurul. As usual, they cited the ratio favouring the government while ignoring the true figures given by their beloved Umno minister.

Which ratio is correct? 1:270 or 1:500? I don't expect that the home affairs minister or senior police officers to give us further explanations anytime soon.

So I did my own research for the answer.

I found out that Malaysia's population in 2010 was 28.3341 million.

Meanwhile the number of uniformed police personnel (excluding civilian staff) in the same year was 106,079.

The latest figures on population and police personnel are not available yet.

We divide 28.3341 million with 106,079 which equals 267. After rounding up we get 270. So, the police to population ratio is 1:270.

That is the 2010 figure. But has it changed that much from 1:270 to 1:500 in the time of just one year and eleven months' time? You tell me.

I agree with Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's recent remarks that the people need to check their facts before issuing a statement on national security and defence matters.

It is "to prevent them from making a blunder and becoming a laughing stock."

In this matter, I think I don't need to tell you who is a laughing stock now. And I believe that even a primary school student can solve this simple math problem.

For further reading, you may download the author's paper on Staffing the Police - More active policemen please, not more policemen .

This paper has become one of the supporting documents backing up Pakatan Rakyat's 2013 budgetary plan to redeploy the police force.

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