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Malaysia to equip police, immigration officers with body cameras: PM Mahathir

The government has agreed to implement the use of body cameras on law enforcement officers such as police, immigration and customs to overcome issues of misconduct, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said.

Malaysia to equip police, immigration officers with body cameras: PM Mahathir

File photo of Malaysian police. (Photo: AFP/ Mohd Rasfan)

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian government has agreed to implement the use of body cameras on law enforcement officers to overcome issues of misconduct, said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Sep 19).

The plan for body cameras on law enforcers, including police and immigration and customs officers, comes after allegations of misconduct by officers, including the beating of suspects, said Dr Mahathir.

READ: Nigerian PhD student dies while in immigration custody in Malaysia

“The officer on duty will wear body cameras, and when he or the (person being investigated) talks, it will be captured on the camera. We can see what the officer is doing to the client,” he told reporters after chairing a Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption meeting.

READ: 3 Chinese nationals deported over assault of immigration officers at KLIA2

The date of implementation has yet to be finalised due to cost considerations, said Dr Mahathir.

He added that the government plans to increase the use of technology in the Customs Department by setting up a control centre, monitoring through closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) and using more scanning machines with artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Malaysia loses between RM3 billion and RM5 billion in revenue a year due to integrity problems of officers and a lack of modern technology at the checkpoints, he said.

Additionally, CCTV monitoring will be stepped up at all border points across the country as well as detention depots at the Immigration Department to facilitate stricter checks and increase the efficiency of the department and its officers.

The use of CCTV will also be increased at police lockups so as to ensure transparency, prevent misconduct and address the issue of death during detention.

“(Police) lockups will need to have cameras so that we will know what actually happens,” he added.

Turning to the topic of public servants, Dr Mahathir said that the police, customs and immigration departments have requested for additional officers following the increase in the number of tourists and foreign workers coming to the country.

However, he said Malaysia could not affect to recruit more officers as the country already has too many public servants, totalling 1.7 million.

“Maybe we can shift some already employed people to more important tasks because we cannot have too many (public servants) as we do not have enough money,” he added.

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