Policemen beat a retreat
KUALA LUMPUR: A police beat base located in the Chow Kit area of downtown Kuala Lumpur has been shut down because the “presence of criminals could make it unsafe” for police officers.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the beat base was located in a dirty area where police faced the possibility of being exposed to contagious diseases. The presence of criminals also posed a threat to the safety of police officers. "What a joke!"
He said this in a written reply to Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali (PAS - Titiwangsa).
Dr Lo’ Lo’ had asked why the beat base along Jalan Haji Taib was closed considering that vice activities were high in the area. She also wanted to know what kind of action had been taken by the police to curb vice activities in the Chow Kit area.
Syed Hamid said police were in the midst of finding a new location for the beat base.
In an immediate response City Chief Police Officer Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Sabtu Osman said the beat base was not shut down but had been relocated to bigger premises near Jalan Raja Bot.
“We moved there to provide better service as we have increased our manpower and need more space,” he said.
Dr Lo’ Lo’s question was the 30th in the Order Paper and hence did not get a mention in the House during the daily one-hour Question Time.
However, Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (PAS - Kuala Krai) managed to raise the matter when he interjected during Azmin Ali’s (PKR - Gombak) speech during the debate on Budget 2009.
Dr Mohd Hatta said that if the police themselves felt unsafe in a beat base, it would be even worse for the public.
“Maybe it would be better to put the police beat base in the army barracks.”
Dr Mohd Hatta then managed to raise the issue again during his own debate on Budget 2009 saying that Syed Hamid’s response was irrational and hoped he would clarify his written answer as this was not the kind of police the people wanted.
“The police are there to make a place safe. If they themselves are scared and run away, how can we hope for others to want to be there?” he asked.
Dr Mohd Hatta said if the place was dirty, it was up to the police to organise gotong-royong activities to clean it up.
He added the only kind of contagious disease in the area was sexually transmitted, adding that getting infected was a matter of choice.