By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — The government must reform the police force to tackle rising crime instead of blaming this on public perception, a Bersih leader said today.
Bersih steering committee member Dr Wong Chin Huat said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should not be engrossed with how the public viewed the police, but instead work towards introducing proper structural reforms.
Hishammuddin yesterday insisted the country’s crime rate has seen no increase and that recent cases of violent crime were “isolated” despite growing concern over public safety especially in the Klang Valley.
The minister also said blowing a few cases out of proportion would create a perception that Malaysia was unsafe country, when official data showed otherwise.
Today, Wong described Hishammuddin’s remarks as “offensive” and “deplorable”, saying it showed the government’s serious disconnect with the public on security.
“He (Hishammuddin) is adding insult to the injury to those of us who have suffered physical harm, psychological trauma and property loss in crimes,” said Wong.
Wong was left with bloodied after being attacked while jogging in Petaling Jaya on Saturday morning, while teacher Teoh Soo Kim, 51, is fighting for her life after suffering severe head injuries during her abduction last Wednesday.
One of the ways of dealing with rising crime, Wong said, was a re-allocation of more police personnel to core units such as the criminal investigation department instead of the Special Branch or the General Operations Force.
“In the longer run, decentralise the police force to have a federal police force in charge of human-trafficking, drug-trafficking, terrorist attacks and other major and cross-border crimes.
“(Also), state police forces which are accountable to state governments and in collaboration with the federal police force,” said Wong.
He then called on the Home Ministry to approve requests by state governments like Selangor to establish auxiliary police units.
“It defies all senses that local governments are not allowed to pay to provide extra security to the residents, when some private companies can have such forces. Adequate auxiliary police forces would have saved many residents the extra money paid for having gated or guarded communities,” added Wong.