It was announced recently that prisoners on parole and are due to be released will be send to selected army camps for rehabilitation. The announcement was made by Internal Security Minister Hishamuddin Hussein who reasoned that by having such prisoners placed at army camps was a way to separate them from being influenced by the hardcore prisoners. It was also reported that such rehabilitation programme would save the government from having to build more prisons that are presently over-crowded to the brim.
I view such a programme as being short-sighted, at best stupid and lacking in ideas. I do not know of any other army in the world that does a similar programme ; certainly I know of none now except us. I think we have stretch the slogan ‘Malaysia Boleh’ a bit too much and have made the army; the so-called honourable defenders of the nation, nothing more than an agency that provides ‘cheap multi-purpose security guards’.
If the intended programme is indeed to save the government from building more prisons, then I would say that all the assurance made by the Internal Security Minister that the national crime rate has reduced substantially is merely an ‘eye wash’. How could he justify that the over-crowding of the prisons to a reduction in crime rate? Isn’t the increase in prisoners equals to an increase in criminals which is represented by the increase in crime rates?
I recall some years ago during the outbreak of the JE epidemic where soldiers were deployed to shot and kill the infected swine. This is indeed a strange task given to the army; a task that they were ill-equipped nor trained for; certainly not killing swine.
I also recall that the army was once tasked to monitor illegal timber loggers, and this is another strange task for the army, and fortunately no illegal loggers were shot dead. Otherwise the soldier would have to answer to the court for murder.
In 1997 or thereabout, the army was tasked to take over the responsibility of maintaining surveillance over illegal Indonesian immigrants from the police, at designated illegal entry points along the coastline of peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. Such a task should rightfully be the responsibility of the police or any other para military units.
I remembered having to present a case during a seminar where I argued that such an operation should not be the army’s responsibility. I quoted the example of the Indian and Pakistan army where they deployed the para military units to maintain surveillance along their common border areas. The regular forces were being held back, only to be deployed when there is a breach by either force along their lines of control. I was privileged to have visited and studied the nature of such operations while a student at the Indian Staff College.
Now, with the latest responsibility of the army having to have prisoners under their watch, I do not know what next for the army. It is anybody’s guess. I hope it is not going to be looking after some sick and insane patients that are longer wanted by the health authorities. If such a task is to be given to the army, then I can only say this……………………that we have all gone sick ourselves.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION