Low police salaries not a reason for corruption, misconduct

KUALA LUMPUR: The issue of low salaries for police personnel should not be used as an excuse for corruption as it only involves a handful of policemen.

However, it is hoped that the government will not ignore the grouses of policemen over their salaries as their salaries do not meet current economic requirements.

Police Junior Officer Association (PPRPD) deputy president Sub-Inspector Abd Rashid Ali said said the basic salary of a constable starts from RM1,441 a month.

Despite receiving an allowance of between RM600 and RM700, the rate is not fixed and varies according to the assignment branch.

"We have families and responsibilities. In addition to personal and family expenses, some if us have to support both parents. Where are we supposed to get the money to support all of this?

"The children need to be sent to daycare and school, if there are two or three children, how much do we have to spend? This does not include the expenses for the children's higher education," he told Berita Harian on Wednesday.

Abd Rashid said there were three service schemes, which are the Constable Service Scheme with a starting salary of RM1,441; Orang Asli Constable Service Scheme (RM1,334) and Support Constable Service Scheme (RM1,220).

"Currently the salary of the Orang Asli and Support services scheme is lower than RM1,441. If the constable service scheme salary is increased to RM1,500; the wages for the Orang Asli and Support scheme will be even lower.

"Due to the low salaries, many low-ranking members try to minimise the cost of living by minimising the quality of their lives and their families.

"For example, most of the members serving in Bukit Aman live far from the capital such as in Nilai and Seremban because of the lower house rent.

"In Bukit Aman, there are still families of low-ranking police officers living in two-room barracks with one bathroom because they cannot afford to rent better housing because it is too expensive," he said.

Abd Rashid hopes that the service scheme be amended into a special service scheme so that the salary and pension rates do not follow the calculation of other civil servants because, as security forces, they serve the country.

"It needs to be placed under a special service scheme because the force is a service that involves lives.

The association also suggested that the government looks at the welfare of police personnel, including workplace infrastructure facilities, adequate quarters, providing life insurance and establishing a foundation to provide education assistance to the children of junior officers.

On misconduct, Abd Rashid said linking low wages to corruption was not accurate.

"This is more about the integrity of the individual himself depending on his faith, religious upbringing, and integrity.

"Only a handful of the total 137,000 senior and junior police officers are involved in corruption. These individuals have tarnished the image of the police force," he said.

To deal with this problem, he said the association always cooperated with the Integrity and Standards Compliance Department (JIPS) in giving advice and briefing the members on the dangers and effects of corruption.

The police also needed to ensure that those who join the force must have good values, he added.

"It is not an easy matter to train ordinary people to be like 'angels' in a short period of time. Many obstacles need to be overcome and the outcome depends on the individual," he said.

In relation to the proposed salary increase, he said the matter had already been discussed since the Prime Minister's speech during the Worker's Day celebration on May 1 last year.

"Since the announcement, a meeting has been held and a study has been presented to the government.

"At the end of last year, another meeting with the Home Ministry and the Public Services Department was held and they promised to refine the matter, but until now there has been no latest development.

"The police will also re-examine past proposals that are compatible with the current economic requirements and relevant for a period of at least the next 10 years," he said.

He also expressed hope that the government will keep its promises regarding salary issues as well as housing and welfare in appreciation of the duties and sacrifices of junior police officers.

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