5 August 2009
A bid to reduce street crime in Malaysia has hit a stumbling block after dozens of volunteers were turned down because they were overweight. Fewer than a third of those who wanted to join the police were accepted.
Robin Brant in Kuala Lumpur
Click to hear the report:
Malaysia's Prime Minister, Najib Razak, announced ambitious targets last week to tackle street crime. He wants a 20% fall by this time next year. Retired policemen are being brought back and members of Malaysia's people's volunteer corps are being enlisted to fight on the frontline. They'll join police on street patrols.
The problem is though, most of the first batch were not considered up to it. Of 500 volunteers who were sent for assessment, just 142 were fit enough. The rest were too fat, unfit or had what the head of the corps told an English language newspaper was 'poor overall presentation and grooming'. Corps members wear military uniforms but most of them are unpaid volunteers with limited powers.
Street crime, particularly mugging, is seen as a serious problem in Malaysia's major cities. The opposition has called for the country's top policeman to be replaced because of the failure to tackle the issue.
Robin Brant, BBC News, Kuala Lumpur
Click to hear the vocabulary:
- ambitious targets
aims or goals which need a great amount of effort to be achieved or be successful
- to tackle
to deal with, to fight; to resolve
- by this time next year
this common phrase and its variations are used to refer to the same point in time during a future period of time - here, the beginning of August of the year 2010 (other examples: by this time next week/next month/tomorrow etc.)
a military unit trained to perform a particular duty
enrolled/registered for service in the armed forces
here, group of people
- considered up to it
thought capable of patrolling the streets
people who do something willingly/of their own accord, without being forced or paid to do it
- overall presentation and grooming
combination of upbringing, education and training that informs your looks and behaviour, often determining how other people perceive you
attacking and robbing somebody in a public place