PETALING JAYA, March 3 ― It will be an uphill task for the police to convince young Chinese adults to join the force, according to several community leaders, after the police launched a major campaign to swell its ranks with 5,000 Chinese recruits yesterday.
Centre of Strategic Engagement (CENSE) chief executive officer Fui K. Soong said the Chinese community had always had a negative perception of the police force.
“Many think the job entails danger and that is why they choose to stay away from it,” Fui said.
“Some institutions overseas manage to turn around the image of the police force — as portrayed in television shows — but it is not the same here.”
Another factor that affects recruitment is that the job is not glamorous.
“The police force, the army, and even teaching institutions are very 'Malay-centric', so the impression it gives is civil service is associated with the Malay community.”
Fui said this could be tackled by a holistic approach to civil service diversity.
“The community needs to break out and overcome the racial mindset.”
MCA deputy president Datuk Wee Ka Siong said, in the past, there were campaigns and road shows to promote a career in the police force but the response was poor.
“We had high-ranking Chinese police officers who conducted talks but it did not help with the campaign,” Wee said.
Wee said many youths were not confident with the career advancement prospects, especially when serving as a policeman.
“PDRM is conducting a great exercise and they have to work hard to recruit Chinese youth so they can change their current perception of the job.”
Low salary a turn-off for many
The police force is looking to recruit 5,000 Chinese in a nationwide campaign starting today.
The Malay Mail went to the streets and spoke to Chinese youth only to find out that benefits and salary were their main reasons for not joining the force.
Mikaela Ong, 25, an advertising executive from Ampang, said many Chinese families would oppose as they see the job as one which does not ensure a stable future.
Julian Cheong, 24, an account executive from Petaling Jaya, said it was a phenomenon that affected the police force and the civil service.
“The main factor why the Chinese stay away from the job is a perception of institutionalised racism, so that perception has to be tackled first.”
Patrick Heng, 27, an IT support officer from Seremban, said he would join the police force if the salary and benefits were more enticing.
“My family would be supportive of my choice but only if the force is able to assure better benefits for recruits.”
Yap Fui Meng, 24, a personal finance manager from Kuala Lumpur, said she chose not to join the force because she knew her family would not be supportive.
“The salary scale is not attractive. Career advancement is not assured, so my family would definitely say no to it.”
Allen Hoh, 23, a sales executive from Ipoh, said he was worried he would not have time for his family because the working hours were not flexible.
“I would have full support from my family but I personally would not join the force because I would be wary about the career path.”