By Debra Chong, Assistant News Editor | UPDATED @ 01:36:51 PM 16-07-2012
The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — Only a paltry eight per cent was set aside for the police to investigate crime despite Putrajaya raising the annual security budget to RM6.3 billion this year, amid growing safety concerns from the public.
Citing the Budget allocation for 2010, 2011 and 2012, opposition lawmaker Liew Chin Tong today called on the authorities to review the police budgetary arrangements to better fight crime.
“Budgetary figures of 2010, 2011, and 2012 show that the Najib administration is more interested in using the police to maintain power than to fight crime,” he said in a statement today.
The police was given an allocation of RM4.5 billion in 2010, RM5.8 billion in 2011 and RM6.3 billion in 2012 respectively, he noted, saying that the budget for the men in blue grew by RM1.8 billion or 40 per cent between 2010 and 2012.
The DAP MP for Bukit Bendera pointed out that the police were given a whopping RM1.68 billion to tackle internal security and public order compared to RM5.04 million set aside for them to investigate crime this year.
“While Internal Security and Public Order includes the traffic police and border patrol, it essentially deals with protecting the government rather than protecting the people,” Liew said.
He noted that RM3.81 million of the total annual allocation was set aside for police intelligence work, which is handled by the Special Branch (SB) division.
“A ‘spy’ agency like the Special Branch is not needed in a democracy,” the lawmaker said.
“In the context of the heightened crime situation nationally, it is high time for the nation to examine the priorities of the police through its budgetary arrangements,” he added.
The biggest chunk of the police budget, 40 per cent or RM2.5 billion, went towards its management while another 15 per cent or RM9.42 million was taken up by logistics.
Only one per cent of the RM6.3 billion overall Budget for this year, a sum totalling RM82.2 million, was fixed for the police to tackle commercial crimes.
Despite the repeated assurances and statistics from the authorities, Malaysians, especially women, appear to be unconvinced and have grown more insecure when out on the streets.
In recent weeks, thieves have been reported hauling off RM1.17 million from several automated teller machines placed at a hypermarket in Wangsa Maju, a densely-populated surburb in the national capital, millions of ringgit worth of high-tech medical equipment being carted off from several hospitals in the Klang Valley, a carjacking and kidnapping of a Singaporean family in Johor and a Malacca clerk who died after she fell off her motorbike after being attacked by two men.
Even the country’s expatriate community has weighed in on the issue and said they were increasingly fearful for their safety here, especially after the kidnapping of 12-year-old Dutch schoolboy Nayati Moodliar, who was snatched while walking to school earlier this year, hit global headlines.
In the latest high-profile crime to be reported, a 60-year-old widow in Kuantan was found dead by her son, believed strangled by robbers who broke into her home, while the mother of a Penang federal lawmaker was punched and robbed at knifepoint in a pre-dawn home invasion in George Town last week.
DAP ally PKR has demanded the government redirect the SB towards fighting crime instead of spying on the public, telling a press conference on July 3 that the police intelligence unit had produced 382,000 reports on the political activities of Malaysian citizens and conducted 351,000 security clearance checks in 2010, based on the allocation for the force in Budget 2012.
But the authorities have defended their statistics which they say show the crime rate has been dropping, putting Malaysia as one of the top 20 most peaceful countries in the world based on the latest Global Peace Index (GPI).
Last Saturday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein accused opposition parties of taking advantage of issues which were of concern to the people, especially on the crime rate, for their political mileage with the 13th general election due soon.