by Jerry Francis
The increasing population of senior citizens in Ipoh has raised a big concern for security in residential areas.
Once a thriving tin mining city, it is now no longer vibrant and as a result most of the younger people are moving out to seek employment in other cities or abroad. They leave behind their elderly parents, who had once lived happily with them in comfortable houses, now feeling lonely and insecure. Some have even been traumatized by crimes committed in their presence at residential areas.
Fear have driven many to choose to live in condominiums, resulting in the construction of more high-rise buildings which are changing the skyline of the city.
High-rise residential projects are regarded as the best option as they are gated and guarded communities. However, most of them prefer to live in landed properties which are still available around the city.
This has pushed the city to grow outward, reaching neighbouring Simpang Pulai, Bercham, Tasek, Tanjung Rambutan, Jelapang, Menglembu, Pengkalan and Chemor.
In view of the need for greater security, one of the largest property developers in Perak, Taiko Properties Sdn Bhd, decided to set up an auxiliary police unit, ‘Polis Bantuan’, to guard its 487-hectare Bandar Seri Botani – a self-contained township being developed on an old palm oil plantation at the southern fringe of the city.
“We feel that having a Polis Bantuan unit will be an added feature to the security,” said Lee Chalk Hian, group administrative manager of the company. This service is being provided by our subsidiary, Pinji Botanics Sdn Bhd, without cost to the residents.”
He said that although it was established just over a year, its presence has boosted the level of confidence among the residents, business and commercial owners, buyers and potential buyers on the security aspects in Bandar Seri Botani.
Members of the force can be seen either manning roadblocks or patrolling on motorcycles and patrol cars. They wear the similar blue police uniform and carry firearms.
Their approach is to initiate ‘omnipresence’ security strategy so as to ensure a safer neighbourhood and crime-free township.
They are adopting the Walk, Stop and Talk strategy and High Profile Policing together with the police’s crime prevention and community safety department, which encourage public confidence, trust and sense of belonging in the neighbourhood.
“We are committed to further enhance our Polis Bantuan by working closely with the Royal Malaysian Police, especially with the police personnel from the Simpang Pulai Police Station,” assured Lee.
“Our Polis Bantuan personnel are well-trained and will continue to conduct joint-operations with the police to further sharpen their policing and community skills for the benefit of those who live and work in Bandar Seri Botani.”
Currently, the Seri Botani Polis Bantuan unit has 20 personnel, who have undergone a 63-day intensive training provided by the Royal Malaysian Police. They are headed by a Sergeant.
They had been properly vetted by the police to ensure that the members of the public can have full trust in them. The authority of the auxiliary unit is similar to that of the police as long as they are on duty within Bandar Seri Botani.
They are licensed to carry firearms and make arrests. It is being provided under the Perintah Tetap Ketua Polis Negara H602. The unit has its own operations room and beat base. It is the only development scheme in Perak to have a Polis Bantuan unit.
This is in addition to the four existing guarded community posts set up by respective residents’ associations within Bandar Seri Botani.
Apart from making their rounds to prevent crime, the Polis Bantuan has also set up a 24-hour Hotline 1700-81-9408 to assist in any emergency or assistance needed by the residents or visitors to Bandar Seri Botani.
Signboards displaying the hotline number have been erected at all the entrances and at strategic places. “Even visitors who have problem with their vehicles while in our area can call for assistance,” said Lee. “They had even received a call from a woman, who had some domestic problems with her husband.”
According to the general manager Taiko Properties Sdn Bhd, Ms Leong Lee See, about 5000 units of various types had been completed and delivered. More, including high-rise buildings will be developed. She said the site will eventually be a self-contained township of over 35,000 residents. There would be a hospital, international schools, banks and other commercial establishments.
The company is also developing and maintaining two large eco-parks inside Bandar Seri Botani to provide recreational facilities to the residents.
“Our scenic eco-parks are so popular that even residents from outside are regular visitors,” added Leong.
“We have a landscape department with 30 personnel to beautify and maintain the facilities and to upkeep the greenery in our area.