Learning from past, Bukit Aman trains handpicked 60,000 cops for GE14

By Thasha Jayamanogaran
Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order director Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abdullah speaks to Malay Mail in an interview in Kuala Lumpur March 8, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — While election chatter has been rising in recent weeks, Bukit Aman has been training the police force to better handle security these past two years.

A total of 60,000 officers nationwide have been handpicked by each district police chief to learn up election laws and undergo rigorous psychological training in order to keep the peace and public order before, during and after polling day.

“We are more focused in our selection and (the way) trainings are conducted, maximising the capacity of each officer. This is what makes us stronger this time.

“We are not just throwing the numbers out there on the ground,” Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order director Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abdullah told Malay Mail in an interview this week.

Zulkifli explained that the police faced a number of new security challenges at the last general elections in 2013 and had to come up with measures to prepare the officers who would be deployed the next round.

To update the rank-and-file officers on election dos-and-don’ts, Bukit Aman roped in the Election Commission to hold seminars.

“We believe it is important for the police on duty to understand the law, so that they will be more confident in dealing with any crisis.

“Mental patience is also important as there will always be unhappy parties or troublemakers hurling accusations and vulgarity at the cops, especially during post elections,” Zulkifli said.

Drill exercises are carried out at the Royal Malaysian Police College in Cheras in preparation for the 14th General Election on March 8, 2018. — Picture courtesy of PDRM

To improve the mental fortitude of the officers, Bukit Aman conducted mock-ups to challenge their patience during drills, set in five stages starting from the dissolution of Parliament to nomination day, the campaigning period, polling day and the post-election period.

Zulkifli was pleased to note that the 60,000 officers selected for deployment lived up to their superiors’ high expectations so far.

He added that the drills started in September 2016 and the police have completed two of the three stages of training.

“The final stage will take place when the election date is announced and candidate listing is finalised.

“That is where we will know where the hotspots are and tweak our deployment capacity a little to ensure everything goes on smoothly,” he said.