Malaysia's riot police reach out to the public over a cuppa

Federal Reserve Unit commander Wan Abdullah Ishak (centre) and other officials from Malaysia's riot police unit mingling with George Town residents on Tuesday as part of a community policing programme to forge closer ties with citizens and change pub
Federal Reserve Unit commander Wan Abdullah Ishak (centre) and other officials from Malaysia's riot police unit mingling with George Town residents on Tuesday as part of a community policing programme to forge closer ties with citizens and change public perception of the police officers.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

GEORGE TOWN (Penang) • Here is a picture of Malaysia's riot police that you do not see every day: top officials of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) sitting down to have coffee with members of the public.

The riot police, often seen in thick helmets and wielding transparent shields and batons, have taken part in several community policing programmes since April to foster closer public ties, said its commander Wan Abdullah Ishak.

The FRU is often at the forefront of street demonstrations, backed by their water cannon trucks and large red vans to throw protesters into.

"We want to change public perception of our duties of keeping order," he said.

"Most of the time, people assume that FRU personnel are violent because we fire tear gas and spray water cannon during a protest."

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysia's riot police reach out to the public over a cuppa'. Print Edition | Subscribe