Monday, 17 August 2009

Belum Kena, Belum Tahu...

This was in the Malaysian Insider from none other than the son of Tok Mat (former UMNO SecGen and Information Minister), Dato Nur Jazlan. I think it speaks for itself:

The Malaysian Insider
August 17 2009

The Royal Malaysian Police Farce
by Dato Nur Jazlan

As a Member of Parliament, I used to defend the police when faced with numerous complaints from my constituents in Johor Baru.

I told my constituents to have faith in the police as their alternative would be to pay for expensive personal security guards. No more.

More than a month ago, my trust and belief in the police force evaporated when my wife was mugged in broad daylight in her car at the front gate of my house by two men on a motorcycle.

I had spent a lot of money protecting the perimeter of my house from all forms of intrusion and expected the police to provide a safe neighbourhood beyond it. I certainly did not expect my wife to be violated right in front of my house.

I live in a middle-to-upper-class neighbourhood of Damansara Heights in Kuala Lumpur where many senior politicians, top civil servants and businessman already pay for a private security service.

This extra layer of private security may have lulled the local police force into such a false sense of security that they are able to spend more time erecting roadblocks to catch speeding cars along Jalan Bukit Kiara in front of the Intan campus every day, rain or shine, instead of securing my neighbourhood a kilometre away.

I need not remind the public of the free time the traffic police have to set up the many unnecessary “cari makan” speed traps and roadblocks on major public and tolled highways.

Over the years, the public have been assured by the police that they are implementing various strategies to reduce crime in the country. And they have produced statistic after statistic to show that reported crime in the country is down.

However, the feedback I get back from the public in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru is that crime is on the rise in their neighbourhood.

When I told them that the statistics point to a reduction in crime, they dismiss it and say many of them don’t bother to report petty thefts as they have no confidence that the culprits would be caught anyway. In fact, when they did make reports, many of them were told exactly that by the investigating police officers.

Back to my wife, she was told that the two men fitting the description she gave to the investigating officer were reported to have robbed many other lone women drivers in the Bangsar area over the last few months.

Coincidentally, a good friend of mine was also attacked by a group of Mat Rempits in front of the Bangsar Shopping Centre at 2 am a few weeks ago.

In my opinion, the main reason why the police have failed to reduce crime, or at least reduce the perception that that crime is pervasive in the country, is that they have little idea of strategies to be used against this new wave of disorganised crime.

Gone are the days when the police were managing organised crime by holding the local crime boss responsible for the wayward actions of his downliners.The country was perceived as being safe back then.

Another reason could just be that the police chiefs are greedy or in the pockets of the local gangsters, funded by the lucrative DVD pirating business amongst others and are too busy protecting them to bother about tackling petty crimes and protecting the public at large, ironically echoing the Police hit “Wrapped Around Your Finger”.

Can anyone tell me different? Because this is all public perception.Someone asked me, “do you remember the last time when a big time crime boss has been indicted in the last 20 years?” I can’t, can you?

Coincidentally, the crime rate had worsened over this period. The bottom line is, the police managed to keep the country safe in the past by managing organised crime.

The gangsters running organised crime ran a tight ship. The top gangsters would ensure that the downliners in their network did only what they were told to do.

A “good” gangster wouldn’t want to suffer any embarrassment or loss of face in his area of control and would dish out harsh punishment if the underlings misbehaved.

Maybe the police force can learn something from the gangster system to ensure their own downliners tow the line.

They can learn from the Hong Kong Police Force on how to manage organised crime. Hong Kong crime gangs regularly have turf wars but Hong Kong residents can still feel relatively safe walking on the streets at night.

Recently in Hong Kong , a major crime boss was brazenly murdered in front of the Shangri La hotel. He was run over by a car and subsequently had his limbs chopped off by his attackers, in full view of the public. Despite this, the citizens of Hong Kong still feel safe.

But I suspect over the last decade, the underworld network has broken now with new would-be criminals bypass the traditional crime networks.

They operate at the lower level of the crime chain and are not controlled by a higher authority.The public cannot expect the police force to stop these new criminals. The police have failed to change their highly bureaucratic organisational structure to respond to the new democratised criminal environment.

As a result, these new criminals are allowed to operate wantonly without fear of the police.
With that in mind, I am not surprised at the growing opposition to the second contract extension for the Inspector General of Police , Tan Sri Musa Hassan.He has been given four years to transform the police force and restore people’s confidence, and he has failed thus far.

I think the current bad crime situation warrants extreme action. Maybe the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should emulate his father’s action in catapulting a junior officer to like Tun Haniff Omar to the top position of IGP to shake up the police force.

Tun Haniff was just 35 years old when he was appointed as the nation’s top cop and he was given enough time to transform the police force then.The police force should be reorganised from a top-heavy bureaucracy into a flexible people-friendly organisation.

The police force currently has more than 90,000 personnel. However only 30,000 of them are actually working the street beat.The other 60,000 are higher paid administration level staff filling paperwork in the office.

Maybe its time the organisation structure of the police force is turned on its head and the larger administration staff are ordered to leave their comfortable office and patrol the streets.

I am sure they would be more effective in ensuring the streets are safe than sitting in the office. If they refuse, then they should be given early retirement so that the police force is able to hire newer, more dedicated staff.

The increased numbers of beat cops would strengthen the police network at street level and allow the police to start building community partnerships and strengthening neighbourhood watch schemes like Rukun Tetangga to deter the perpetrators of petty and small crimes.

The police should strive to create a “kampung” environment especially in city areas like Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru.

This would enable the police force to identify the residents in local areas and make it easier to identify outsiders.

The extended network of the kampung would, in effect, ring fence the local community and put fear into the would be criminals and deter them from entering the community.

If the new IGP can implement my suggestions above, maybe then I would believe I would start to have faith in the police force again. Maybe.

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