11 March 2008

1 police personnel to every 4,400 Wangsa Maju-ians

I was at the Wangsa Maju police station this morning as our first step in looking into the security problem in the constituency. Below is the full report in Malaysiakini:

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Wangsa Maju: Reality check in curbing crime
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Mar 11, 08 3:24pm

There is just one police personnel for every 4,400 people in the Wangsa Maju parliamentary constituency in Kuala Lumpur - a finding that has left newly-minted MP Wee Choo Keong shell-shocked.

He visited the Wangsa Maju police station this morning, as part of his post-election rounds, to bring up security issues as these have been at the top of voter concerns.

Wee, the secretary-general of the Malaysians Democratic Party, had contested the seat under the PKR.

Inquiring into the rise in crime in the constituency over the past several years and action being taken to reduce the rate, Wee said he was in turn asked what actions he had in mind given the dire lack of resources and personnel.

“I was told there are 68 police personnel in charge of Wangsa Maju. This means every police personnel has to take care of 4,400 residents. I find this completely unacceptable!” he said when contacted after his meeting.

There are about 300,000 residents in Wangsa Maju currently, but the number is expected to rise to more than 400,000 over the next decade.

Wee said he has not met with the Setapak district police chief or other senior police officers as his purpose this morning was to meet with the lower- and middle-ranking officers.

When he asked what has prevented a larger intake of recruits, Wee said he was again shocked to hear the reason for the poor response among young Malaysians to a career in the police force.

“Some personnel have a basic salary of only RM800 a month. No wonder nobody wants to join the police force. How can you survive with only RM800 a month, especially in the Federal Territory!” he exclaimed.

“This will be something I will bring up with the district police chief and hope it will be brought up to the Inspector-General of Police.”

Crime in Setapak district, which encompasses Wangsa Maju, has reportedly soared in recent years, although the crime rate has generally risen nationwide.

Analysts have cited the crime rate and economic hardship as among key reasons for the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) electoral setback, with only 140 of its parliamentary candidates winning in the 12th general election last Saturday.

Opposition candidates, meanwhile, had their best-ever showing, capturing 82 seats in Parliament and denying the BN retention of its two-thirds majority.

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