Malaysia Prime Minister Badawi Pledges Continued Action on Crime and Corruption

- Badawi asks voters: "Give me a fresh mandate to improve the fight for law and order"

KUALA LUMPUR , Malaysia , March 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said today that he was committed to continue his fight against crime and corruption ahead of the country's general election, which is to be held this Saturday, March 8th .

"The fight against criminal and corrupt behavior continues, and we are taking firm action against all those who threaten law and order and who engage in corrupt practices. The real and steady progress we have made is just a foundation for the future, and there is more to do," Mr. Badawi said when addressing a group of supporters.

Malaysia has made progress in strengthening the Police, with a range of important accomplishments since 2004 that include:

-- Establishing the Royal Commission to enhance the operation and management of the Police, with more than 85 percent of the Commission's proposals being carried out

-- Increasing salaries of Police and armed forces personnel

-- Increasing funding to modernize the Police

-- Expanding recruitment of Police personnel, bringing back newly-retired Police officers, setting up additional Police stations and increasing use of CCTVs

-- Launching more intensive Police surveillance and operations in Kuala Lumpur , Selangor, Penang, the Kinta Valley and Johor

-- Establishing an Independent Commission in response to public concern on Police body search procedures

-- Raising road user awareness and enforcement, notably reducing injuries and deaths per population from road accidents

In addition, the government has made progress in reducing corruption and improving governance.

For example, there has been a 72 percent increase in the number of corruption-related arrests since 2003 and an improved 74 percent conviction rate for these cases. In addition, the National Integrity Plan has been launched, the budget for the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has been doubled, and the number of ACA officers has been increased, including forensic officers.

Mr. Badawi made clear that while he is pleased with the progress he is not satisfied with it.

"With a fresh mandate from the people we will work to further bring down the country's crime index, and we will continue to stamp on corrupt practices and individuals," he said.

"We are adding 60,000 more police personnel by 2011 and we will set up more than 150 new Police stations and beat bases. We will expand the police presence in neighborhoods, improve safety in schools, playgrounds and public areas, and enhance community policing through partnerships with non-governmental organizations, the private sector and local communities," he pledged.

"We will make a special focus on directing additional police operations and resources into crime hot-spot areas across the country, so that resources are better matched with community security needs," Mr. Badawi added.

Other law and order initiatives that Mr. Badawi said would be put forward are tackling drug abuse and other social ills, taking action to address the issue of illegal immigrants, and upgrading Police communications technology, armaments, vehicles, technical aids and training.

The efforts to reduce corruption will move forward as well, and include:

-- Continuing to enforce anti-corruption measures without fear or favour

-- Strengthening monitoring and enforcement by agencies such as the ACA, Customs, Inland Revenue and local authorities

-- Establishing an effective Special Complaints Commission to action on complaints of misconduct in enforcement agencies

-- Continuing to foster a culture of integrity and high ethical standards through the National Integrity Plan