The Royal Malaysian Police hopes more Orang Asli will enlist in the General Operations Force, formerly known as Police Field Force, a paramilitary unit of the Police which had played an active role in combating communist insurgents during the 1970s to late 1980s.
According to Commander Northern Brigade, Senior Assistant Commissioner Dato’ Ahmad Sofian Md Yassin, the government has eased entry requirements for Orang Asli applying for the position of police constable largely to attract more from the community to join the force.
“Orang Asli participation is still lacking with only a handful enlisting in the two Senoi Praaq battalions in Northern Brigade,” he told reporters while visiting the Orang Asli village of Kampong Tonggang recently. “The Orang Asli’s jungle-tracking ability will be an asset to the force. Their predecessors, in the original Senoi Praaq battalion, were similarly tasked during the height of the Second Emergency (1975 to 1989).”
As a form of incentive, the government has taken measures to improve the remuneration package by offering new recruits better pay and allowances. “Besides the RM400 special allowance for General Operations Force personnel, they too stand to get a higher pay scale based only on a Peperiksaan Menengah Rendah (PMR) qualification,” said Ahmad Sofian.
The Northern Brigade’s two Senoi Praaq battalions, one in Bidor and the other in Pengkalan Hulu are under strength. The Bidor battalion has 554 men while the Pengkalan Hulu battalion has 439 men. Both battalions are in need of fresh recruits to fill up its ranks.
The brigade will conduct more visits to Orang Asli villages in the vicinity to establish cordial relationships with the community and also to encourage aboriginal youths to join the police force.