Malaysia: Penang cops learn Hokkien

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Oct 17 13:32:26 UTC 2008

Penang cops learn Hokkien

GEORGE TOWN: Do not be surprised if a Malay or Indian policeman stops you on
the street and speaks in fluent Hokkien. This is because Penang police have
been offering a Hokkien dialect course to their personnel. State police
chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said a three-month course had been
drawn up to teach the personnel better communications skills, especially in
a state where Hokkien is widely spoken. He said the first batch of 35
policemen of various races had already gone through the course which started
in August and ended recently.

Another lesson, to be carried out by a professional tutor scheduled to be
held thrice weekly, will start in November. "Most people in Penang speak
Hokkien. However, the ratio of Hokkien speaking policemen and the population
in the state stands at 1:6,000 and this is not good. "By having the Hokkien
lessons, there would be better communication between the police and the
people,' he said at a press conference to announce his appointment as
Malaysia Crime Prevention FoundĀ­ation (Penang chapter) deputy chairman.

DCP Ayub said the rapport between the policemen and the public could
indirectly grow closer when they are able to speak confidently in the
dialect. "The policemen and officers, especially the young ones, will be
sent for such training so that they are able to converse in the dialect," he
said. He said they would also try to rope in language experts from
Universiti Sains Malaysia to conduct courses in other languages, so they can
communicate with tourists. On another matter, DCP Ayub said the two
abandoned blocks of police quarters in Taman Tun Sardon would be

He said the state police were still waiting for the approval of a RM2mil
allocation from Home Ministry for the refurbishment work. "There is a need
to spruce up the two blocks before the policemen stationed at the Penang
International Airport can move in." The 80-unit quarters, comprising two
blocks of five-storey building each, had been left in a shabby state since
the policemen moved to their new apartments in 2001. Also present at the
press conference was foundation chairman Datuk Seri Kamal Hashim.

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