May 3, 2011

Army and prisons officials to lead new programme Read more: Army and prisons officials to lead new programme

The National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) programme launched yesterday involves two lead agencies -- the army and the Prisons Department.

Army chief Gen Datuk Seri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin and Prisons Department chief, Commissioner General Datuk Zulkifli Omar, told a media briefing recently that the programme was an effort between several ministries and government agencies.

They include the Ministries of Defence; Home; Agriculture and Agro-based Industry; Information, Communications and Culture; Rural and Regional Development; Health; and the Civil Defence Department.

The NBOS programme is divided into three segments:

NBOS 1 -- The redeployment of policemen to reduce crime;

NBOS 2 -- The community rehabilitation programme for prison inmates (with less than two years' jail sentence) at army camps; and,

NBOS 3 -- Household assistance, rural water supply and optimal use of vacant armed forces land for agriculture.

Under NBOS 1, 7,402 police officers below the rank of assistant superintendent and other policemen will be mobilised from desk duties to high-risk areas, aimed at reducing crime under the National Key Results Area initiative.

Their roles in the office will be filled by 4,000 staff from the Administrative and Diplomatic Service and civillians.

Under NBOS 2, the armed forces and police will collaborate in training constables, undertake joint patrols, facilitate ex-servicemen from the Army to serve with the police and oversee operations like Ops Wawasan (anti-crime operation at the Malaysia-Thailand border) and Ops Nyah (operation against illegal immigrants).

The community rehabilitation programme for prison inmates will start at five army camps for 1,200 inmates.

A total of 240 Prisons Department staff and 300 soldiers will supervise inmates who will work as grass-cutters, drain cleaners, landscapers and painters.

Additionally, inmates at the Syed Sirajuddin Camp will be roped in for fish-breeding and agriculture projects.

"These activities are to equip the inmates with skills to provide an avenue for them to be independent after their release from prison.

"This will ensure that they do not resort to crime again to survive," Zulkifeli and Zulkifli said.

The initiative was also expected to save money for the government in its efforts to ease congestion at prisons.

The government could save RM281 million in building new rehabilitation centres at the five Army camps, instead of new prisons.

"We can save RM8.8 million for the maintenance work done by inmates and generate RM2.13 million in revenue from the fish-breeding and agriculture activities," they said.

For the training of constables at army camps, 2,000 had begun training at the army's Basic Training Centre (Pusasda) in Port Dickson, and another 500 at the Naval Recruit Training Centre in Tanjung Pengelih, Johor, since Jan 18 this year.

The training is for six months.

"This will save the government RM600 million to train 10,000 constables over four years."

Joint patrols by the army and police, and manning of roadblocks and escorts in Seremban, Port Dickson, Taiping and Ipoh had begun since early this year.

A total of 101 ex-servicemen, including five women, began their three-month induction training to join the police since Jan 18 and will be appointed as senior corporals.

The household assistance programme, under the NKRA rural infrastructure initiative, will see the renovation and construction of 485 homes of the poor from February till year-end.

The NBOS 3 programme, they said, would synergise all the relevant government agencies.

"Additionally, it will provide staff of the agencies 'on-the-job-training' and reduce infrastructure costs ."

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