KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)- Malaysian police on Thursday (Jan 21) turned up at the house of a mother of three who had shoplifted food items and anti-fever gel pads from a hypermarket.
But instead of being arrested, the men in blue, led by police chief for Petaling Jaya Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal, gave the poor family a packet of rice, food items and other basic necessities, to cheers from the Malaysian public.
"The police report stated that the suspect was nabbed for stealing a roll of pandan cake, sausages and two packs of Kool Fever (gel pads) for her children," Assistant Commissioner Nik Ezanee said.
"I felt that I should go meet this suspect and ask why she did this. Because I believe that this person must be facing some problem to resort to this," he said.
The police went over to the hypermarket, asked about what she tried to take and bought the items for her, including the pads, said Mr Nik Ezanee.
He said the woman's son had a fever on Wednesday and was recovering well.
The woman, in her 30s, was caught by security guards at the hypermarket as she tried to leave without paying for some of the items.
"We spoke to her and found out that her husband works as an elevator maintenance technician. He currently does not have work which is why they are struggling to make ends meet," said Mr Nik Ezanee.
Police stamped "no further action" on the case and advised her to never resort to crime again.
"They are many channels that one can go through to get assistance. There are soup kitchens, non-governmental organisations and the Welfare Department as well as zakat aid (Muslim charity)," the senior policeman said.
"Even non-Muslims can ask for zakat aid," he said, adding that he also told her to visit the police station for help if she needed.
The move by the police received dozens of praises from the public on social media.
"Sometimes winning hearts are more effective than punishment," wrote one Dennis Leong on The Star's Facebook page.