KUALA LUMPUR: Oct 16, 2008 By ROYCE CHEAH
A police beat base in the Chow Kit area of downtown Kuala Lumpur was closed down because it was in a location that was considered unsafe, said Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.
In a written reply to Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali (PAS-Titiwangsa), Syed Hamid said the beat base was located in a dirty area where there was a possibility of being exposed to contagious diseases.
The presence of criminals also posed a threat to the safety of police officers, he said.
Lo’ Lo’ had asked why the beat base on Jalan Haji Taib was closed considering the high number of vice-related activities in the area, as well as what kind action had been taken by the police to curb such activities.
Syed Hamid said that the police were looking for a new location to build a police beat base that would be able to give “guaranteed and continued service to the public.”
Lo’ Lo’s was the 30th question 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 it 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, then it would be even worse for the public.
“The minister has to resign if he is worried about the safety of police in that area. Maybe it would be better to put the beat base in army barracks,” he said.
Dr Mohd Hatta then managed to raise the issue again during his own debate on Budget 2009 saying that Syed Ali’s response was not rational.
“The police are there to make a place safe. If they themselves are scared and run away, then how can we hope for others to want to be there?
“It is embarassing and that is why the criminals will always be there,” he said.
Dr Mohd Hatta said if the place is dirty, then it is up to the police to organise gotong-royong activities to clean it up or if they did not want to then they should move to Putrajaya or Parliament.
“And what is this about contagious diseases on Jalan Haji Taib? The only kind of contagious diseases that are present there are sexually-transmitted ones.
“Is the minister scared that his charges will contract such diseases? That kind of thing is a matter of choice. In any case, if this is what he is worried about then we are worried that the police are not above this.”
Dr Mohd Hatta added that the police had to be brave people and that they were a different breed altogether when facing demonstrators. He said he hoped that the minister would clarify his written answer in the House as this is not the kind of police that the people want.