Is PDRM fighting crime, or chasing rumours and faith policing?


(The Ant Daily) – As a force, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has a duty to protect the people from crime but it has complained of lack of manpower and resources to play that role effectively.

Although the police force in a democratic country wears many hats, its primary duty has always been to fight crime and preserve public order.

Thus it is strange that PDRM appears to be freely allocating personnel for other tasks than crime prevention.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar seems to have other ideas about how to allocate PDRM’s supposedly scarce manpower.

First he plans to second much needed police officers to state religious departments for religious enforcement work.

While he has already clarified that Malaysia is not going down Iran’s route by having a dedicated police force for faith and morale policing like the middle eastern state’s Basij paramilitary unit, seconding officers to religious departments still means draining police manpower.

The Home Ministry and Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) first mooted the idea of a special syariah unit to assist religious departments in their enforcement.

However, it is unnecessary to second police officers to state religious departments given that there are plans to arm religious enforcement officers.

Now, he is planning to set up a special unit to chase after online rumours and those who supposedly spread slander in the web, as reported, ironically, by Utusan Malaysia.

The unit, to be known as Cyber Investigation Response Centre, will be under the supervision of the Commercial Crimes Investigation Division and will be equipped with the best tools of the trade, which may further add to police budgetary needs.

And while it is not yet as pervasive as the paranoia-led former East Germany’s Stasi which kept watch over everything that the people say or do, this not only means more money and manpower diverted from crime-fighting but also a few steps closer to a Big Brother state.

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