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Absence of police officials
and the need for the “public hearing” of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human
Rights and Good Governance to become a “closed session” are clear proof that
the Police is still not prepared to adopt a new paradigm of “policing for
people” despite all talk of police “rebranding with a new vision and
(Parliament, Thursday): The absence of police officials and the need for the “public hearing” of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance on “Fight Rising Crime” in Petaling Jaya last night to become a “closed session” are clear proof that the Police is still not prepared to adopt a new paradigm of “policing for people” despite all talk of police “rebranding with a new vision and mission”.
Instead of thanking the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance for creating a meaningful forum for the police to hear the voices of the people about their concerns, fears, hopes and nightmares about crime and the fear of crime in various parts of the country, the police have adopted a far from appreciative attitude as illustrated by the absence of police officials at the public hearing in Petaling Jaya last night to hear out the people who are concerned about the law-and-order situation in the Klang Valley to attend and speak up at the three-hour session.
There is also no doubt that if the Police is prepared to fully respect and respond to the concerns of Malaysians about the law-and-order situation, there would have been no need for the Parliamentary Caucus public hearing to become a “closed session” with the media not allowed to report its proceedings.
The “Fight Rising Crime” public hearings of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance were never meant to be police-bashing exercises, and this was clearly understood by members of the public and the press as illustrated by the first public hearing of the caucus in Johor Baru last Sunday.
There is one common objective among those who attended the public hearing – to have a better-quality policing service to restore to Malaysians their most fundamental human right to be doubly free from crime and the fear of crime, so that citizens, tourists and investors can be safe and feel safe whether in the streets, public places or privacy of their residence.
During the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Malaysian Police in March this year, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said that the police was being “rebranded with a new vision and mission in line with the recommendations of the Royal Police Commission”.
If so, then the Police must be guided by the strategic objective which the Royal Police Commission had spelt out for the Malaysian Police – “a world class, twenty-first century organization that is efficient, clean and trustworthy, dedicated to serving the people and the nation with integrity and respect for human rights”.
The police had failed in the rebranding with a new vision and mission as recommended by the Royal Police Commission when it refuses to undergo a new policing paradigm of transforming from “Policing for Government” to “Policing for People” with the conspicuous absence of police officers at the Parliamentary Caucus public hearing on “Fight Rising Crime”, which had to become a “closed session” out-of-bounds for media coverage.
The Royal Police Commission had recommended making crime reduction priority No. 1 for the police, together with eradication of corruption and compliance with prescribed laws and human rights.
The two Parliamentary Caucus public hearings in Johor Baru and Petaling Jaya are incontrovertible evidence that the police have failed to keep crime index low to make the country safe for the people, visitors and foreign investors – with the fear of crime even more palpable in Johor Baru than in the Klang Valley though very real and widespread in the latter.
This losing war against rising crime is also borne out by police statistics - with the crime index worsening from 156,315 cases in 2003 to 226,836 cases in 2006, a sharp rise of 45.1% in the past three years when the police force had set the target of reducing the crime index by five per cent each year!
The Royal Police Commission had in fact set higher benchmarks for the police, proposing a minimum of 20% decrease in each category of crime within a period of 12 months.
From the latest answer given by the Prime Minister and Internal Security Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to my parliamentary question, the country recorded a 8.7 per cent increase in the crime index between January and May this year as compared to the first five months of last year – with Kuala Lumpur registering an increase of 18.7 per cent and Selangor an increase of 13.7 per cent.
As the Royal Police Commission rightly pointed out, the Police cannot make any headway in “rebranding with a new vision and mission” unless it is prepared to have a mindset change starting by ending its denial syndrome that it has been fighting a losing war against crime and the fear of crime particularly in the “black areas of crime” in the country and that the Police must undergo a paradigm shift to transform itself from “Policing for Government “ to “Policing for People”.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman