Zahid urges police to work to discard public negative perception

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has urged the police to take steps to discard the negative perception of the public towards the force so that the people could enjoy peace-of-mind.

He said the police should get closer to the public and non-governmental organisations through people-friendly approaches so that the general perception of them would be more positive.

"The police can be fierce, stern but keep smiling and be friendly to people, be community-friendly," he said in his speech at the Addressing Perception on Safety and Security Forum organised by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) of the Prime Minister's Department here today.

Ahmad Zahid said the public still saw the crime rate in this country as being high, even though the crime index rate had dropped by 47% since the Government Transformation Programme was implemented in 2009.

In fact, he said, the police had been acknowledged as being the best security agency in Asean through various efforts to combat crime.

"This is the reality but the public perception does not agree with it because our mind often sees only negative things," he said.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said his ministry had also taken various steps to combat crime including helping former inmates to stay away from criminal activities.

He said according to statistics, only 0.6% of inmates in the country who completed their sentences returned to crime.

This was much lower than the 65% rate seen in California, United States who returned to crime, he said.

He added that the National Anti-Drug Agency had also worked hard to rehabilitate 3,794 patients at the cure & care rehabilitation centres throughout the country to prevent them from returning to a life of drugs.

He said drug addiction contributed to crime with 57.2% of prison inmates committing drug-related crimes. — Bernama