Federal police chief Ismail Omar lauds the RM642 million allocation for the police force. But HRP chief P Uthayakumar says what the force needs is a 'shake up'.
This evening, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced that RM200 million would be set aside for “modern policing” and RM442 million for infrastructure development.
“It is good that we’re getting RM442 for our development, for our housing and police stations… the RM200 million is good for our investigation wing in which we would build up our equpiment, forensics, we would also be upgrading our training,” Ismail told FMT.
“The specifics are already being planned out. To get the budget is very good for us, it would allow us to move faster and better,” he added.
In his Budget speech at the Dewan Rakyat, Najib stressed that the country was in need of “policing in a modern and open society”.
“We want the integrity and credibility of the police force to be held in high esteem. We need a well-trained police force with modern technology, state-of-the-art equipment as well as sophisticated and scientific investigation and evidence gathering capabilities,” he said, adding that RM200 million would be allocated for this.
The other RM442 million would be for the development of police housing quarters, purchase of equipment as well as upgrading of headquarters, stations and training centres.
Shake up needed
Less optimistic was Human Rights Party (HRP) pro tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar who said that the allocation would count for nothing if a real shake up of the police force was not done.
The vocal police critic said that the public generally still do not feel safe on the streets.
“The numbers does not correspond to the lowering of the crime rate. I wonder if these funds would be put to good use, otherwise such big allocations are not justified,” said the lawyer-activist.
Uthayakumar suggested that the allocation should have been channelled to independent bodies to aid the police such as an independent coroner’s department and independent forensic department.
“If police investigate their own crime of custodial deaths, they never get anywhere. In the US, a coroner’s ambulance would take away the body and investigate; there would not be political interference, there won’t be police cover-ups, the forensics won’t abet the police and falsely prosecute somebody,” he said.
Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) vice-chairman Lee Lam Thye said plans to upgrade police quarters were “long overdue” as performance was directly related to the personnel’s living conditions.
“The living conditions of a lot of these quarters are actually deplorable, I have seen many of these quarters, especially those outside of the city. The need to upgrade their quarters to enable the policemen to live in better conditions,” he said.
Lee said the upgrading of police stations, especially those in rural areas, were also essential.
However, he hoped that the government would continue to monitor the performance of the police in terms of ensuring that they would have the means and capabilities to be professional.
“The public’s expectations have risen. The police have got to address all these effectively,” he added.
Last year, RM350 million was allocated for the police for crime eradication under the annual budget. In 2009, RM5.4 billion was allocated for the police to enhance their capacity (RM4.8billion for operating expenditure and RM600 million for development expenditure).