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Mixed responses as Malaysian police plan body cam rollout by October 2024

Malaysian police decision to introduce body cams in October 2024 has stirred diverse opinions among netizens. The move aims to enhance transparency, but concerns about potential loopholes persist within the online community.

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MALAYSIA: There have been numerous recent cases involving Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) personnel, particularly viral bribery incidents.

This week, two videos surfaced, depicting traffic police officers offering “discounts” to tourists in Ipoh and Langkawi, prompting investigations.

Following the probe into the first video involving tourists from the United Kingdom in Ipoh, three police officers were arrested.

On 30 January, the Malaysian Home Ministry announced the procurement of 7,648 body-worn cameras (BWC) for PDRM after a prolonged effort.

Secretary-General Datuk Haji Ruji bin Haji Ubi represented the Home Ministry in a ceremony at Putrajaya to formalize the agreement with Mindwave Consultancy Sdn Bhd for the supply and services related to the BWCs, as stated on its official Facebook page.

The company was awarded a 2-year contract.

Also present at the ceremony was Bukit Aman Crime Prevention And Community Safety Department (JPJKK) director Datuk Wan Hassan Wan Ahmad who spoke to Berita Harian regarding PDRM’s plans to utilise the BWCs.

Wan Hassan stated that the BWCs would be deployed to 157 District Police Headquarters and 640 police stations nationwide, with full implementation expected by October 2024, and will be used by PDRM’s mobile patrol vehicle unit (MPV) and motorcycle patrol unit (URB) under the Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department (JSPT)

He also said he anticipated their complete use by the MPV and URB officers by March 2025.

“Training for BWC usage will be conducted from March to December 2025 to ensure proficiency among officers,” he told Berita Harian.

Wan Hassan expressed hope that the adoption of this modern technology would enhance effective policing, promoting public trust and cooperation.

“By integrating the BWC into the police uniform, it will enhance the relationship and collaboration between the public and the police, as every conversation will be recorded.”

Past incidents involving PDRM personnel

Numerous cases involving PDRM personnel have raised concerns among Malaysians, prompting questions about the safety and trustworthiness of authorities due to the escalating number of incidents involving them.

Another noteworthy case that has captured the nation’s attention involves a police officer facing four charges including raping an underaged Uzbekistan girl inside a police patrol car while still on duty on 17 January.

Lance Corporal Muhammad Fazrul Razzi Yunus,31, was also charged with committing unnatural sex, carnal intercourse against the order of nature, and sexual assault against the underage victim near Persiaran Saujana Ampang at 10.30 pm on 9 Jan.

Meanwhile, Fazrul and his fellow officer, Constable Muhammad Adib Aikal Sharul Nizam, reportedly coerced the victim and her boyfriend into paying RM500 (approximately US$105.71).

They allegedly threatened to expose an intimate video of the couple near Jalan Ampang Hillview on the same date and time.

Divergent opinions emerge among netizens

The announcement of PDRM’s adoption of BWCs elicited diverse reactions from netizens, showcasing a mix of approval and scepticism.

Some netizens voiced their support for the implementation of BWCs, commending the initiative.

However, a substantial number of comments expressed scepticism, with concerns about potential loopholes in the system.

One comment went further to enumerate possible excuses officers might use, such as claiming the camera has no battery, forgetting to charge it, or asserting that the camera is broken.

Proposing a solution, another netizen suggested imposing penalties for officers if their cameras are found to be faulty or in need of replacement but were not replaced immediately.

There were also calls for stringent maintenance of the cameras to avoid a recurrence of issues seen with non-functional cameras in holding cells.

Several netizens pointed out that the decision to implement BWCs seemed overdue, criticizing the delayed announcement and immediate enforcement.

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