KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 – The Home Ministry is vetting through the membership list of Penang’s Volunteer Patrol Unit (PPS), which has been pronounced illegal by the Inspector-General of Police, to identify those who can still operate for community policing bodies recognised by the Federal government. Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today said the state government has given him the full list of the members following the arrest of 154 of them on August 31. “We will complete the scanning on almost 10,000 of the members and legal action will be taken on any of them that have criminal records,” he said.
“We will then send the cleared list to the Penang government,” he added. “They are members of an illegal organisation. So we are in the midst of discussing with the state government how best these people can be absorbed into legal organisations if they are really sincere in helping in the safety of their community,” he said. Zahid said this after officiating at the Umno Batu Kawan division’s delegates’ conference in Seberang Perai. The 154 members were investigated under section 43 of the Societies Act 1966 for being involved with an unlawful organisation. The Penang government has maintained that PPS was legal and legitimate as it was instituted as a body under the state to provide help during emergencies and disasters, and for community policing.
The 154 members were detained after they had participated in the march-past during the state-level Merdeka Day celebration in George Town. In his speech, Zahid said chief minister Lim Guan Eng had contacted him following the arrests but was told that there cannot be any compromise on the issue as the PPS was not registered. “I asked him to immediately stop all PPS activities, and he agreed to my request,” Zahid said. He added that community policing is needed to support the police in curbing crime, especially on the streets, but only the federal government is empowered over security issues.
He said that was why bodies like Rakan Cop, Rela Corps, the Civil Defence Department and Rukun Tetangga were formed under federal authorities. On the recent leaks in the UPSR examination papers for English and Science subjects, Zahid said the police are working with senior officials from the Education Ministry and the Malaysian Examination Board to conduct detailed investigations on the matter. The investigators are also looking at the methods and procedures of distribution of the papers to the examination centres to plug any shortcomings. He added that there will be no cover-up by the police on any individuals, including senior personnel, and any agency involved in the fiasco. The new sittings for the English and Science subjects have been scheduled for September 30.