In the light of the rising crime rate especially the recent spate of high-profile shootings, the Malaysian public looks to the Royal Malaysian Police for answers, but the police themselves are swamped and overworked.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar was reported as saying that due to acute shortage of investigating officers, certain officers in Kuala Lumpur have to handle up to 100 cases at the same time (citation). Even if investigating officers are expected to handle up to 20 cases per month, the ratio is still far from ideal and the outcome of investigation leaves a lot to be desired.
Based on the statistics of the police force division of labor between its six departments (criminal investigation, narcotics, commercial crime, management, logistics, public security), it must be pointed out that there are more officers handling non-crime matters than criminal investigation.
The increment of officers in the Criminal Investigation and Commercial Crime department is insufficient to deal with the crime conundrum. According to a July 2013 parliamentary answer, the Criminal Investigation Department which is tasked to handle and solve crimes is only10,150 in strength. In comparison, there are a whopping 12,225 officers in the General Operation Force (Pasukan Gerakan Am).
This is the highest number of officers allocated as compared to the other divisions within the Internal Security and Public Order (Jabatan Keselamatan Dalam Negeri dan Ketenteraman Awam) Department. Out of the 32,670 Police Officers in the KDN/KA department, a whopping 12,225 or 37% are from the General Operation Force.
The General Operation Force is a paramilitary unit historically created during the Communist Insurgency era to oversee internal security matters such as instances of armed intrusions and other dangers to national security.
However, decades after the communist threat has dissipated, there are still more officers on standby to handle national security invasions than they are to handle normal index crime. In the absence of a proclamation of emergency, this is not an era to maintain such a large paramilitary force that is larger than the criminal investigation department. The Royal Malaysian Police must get its priorities right and drop the Cold War mentality.