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Wednesday December 3, 2008
By THO XIN YI
THE Selangor government needs to expedite the installation of CCTV cameras throughout the state as no less than the Sultan of Selangor himself wants the surveillance network implemented fast for the safety of his subjects.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had said during an exclusive interview with The Star group chief editor Datuk Wong Chun Wai that he was frustrated at the delay in the implementation of the CCTV network in the state and he wanted to see the system in operation statewide as soon as possible.
Most of the officials of residents associations interviewed by StarMetro voiced their support for the royal expression, saying that those responsible for the CCTV surveillance scheme should start cracking to get the network functioning.
Currently, there are about 100 CCTV cameras in areas under the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) and 22 in Petaling Jaya.
All-Petaling Jaya Selangor Residents Associations Coalition chairman Liew Wei Beng said he was disappointed with the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) for its unsatisfactory maintenance and operation of the facility.
Liew is not just making some armchair criticism of the MBPJ but has a very valid complaint as he himself had a real bad experience with the council’s CCTV scheme.
Liew discovered the shocking fiasco when he visited the MBPJ complex to check on the CCTV recording of his car being broken into.
“My car was vandalised in Taman Megah in March. The culprit was caught on the CCTV, but the images were not sharp enough for us to identify his face and his vehicle,” Liew said.
“I requested for a copy of the image but was only given a CD five months later. When I realised that I could not open the file, I went back to ask for another copy. That’s when I was told about the malfunction of the CCTV cameras,” he said.
“I was told that 18 of the CCTV cameras are not functioning.
“The one at the Taman Bahagia LRT station is missing and, until today, has not been replaced,” Liew said.
He said the whole purpose of installing CCTV cameras was to curb crime and the MBPJ should repair the faulty equipment immediately.
“The MBPJ officer told me they do not have the funds to replace the cameras.
“Another thing is, only real time images can be zoomed in and not the recordings,” he added.
According to United Residents Association Puchong chairman Chik Chum, there are no CCTV cameras installed in Puchong Intan, where he is residing.
“I certainly hope that the council can consider installing some in our area, especially since crime is rampant here,” he said.
Pusat Bandar Puchong Residents Association treasurer William Chang hoped that the CCTV network system was working well and monitored constantly.
“There is no specific time for crime to happen, so it’s very important for the officers monitoring the images to inform the relevant parties right away.
“The footage can be rewound but it will be too late already,” Chang said.
Under the MPSJ municipality, there are 38 CCTV cameras in Subang Jaya, 27 in Serdang, 16 in Seri Kembangan and nine in Kinrara.
Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh is concerned about the costs involved in the installation and maintenance of the CCTV network.
“The people, of course, want the CCTV system but the cost is too high. It takes about RM100,000 to rent the system each month.
“With the money, 100 policemen can be employed to patrol the streets instead,” she said.
Yeoh also expressed the need to link the system to the police.
“It can’t be effective without the connection with the police to take action,” she said.
MPSJ president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan said the system was already being connected to the police.
“Previously police personnel were stationed at our control room 24 hours, but now they can view the images from the police station,” he said.
Adnan said the CCTV system had helped the police in their crime prevention work.
“I know of cases such as car break-ins that have been picked up by the cameras and then passed on to the police,” he said.
Adnan said so far no resident had requested to view the CCTV footage but the council might consider any request if it was deemed necessary and appropriate.
He said the cameras were also useful for the council to monitor the traffic situation and other emergencies, such as fallen trees, floods or landslides.
“With the images, our team can take immediate action,” he said.
Adnan agrees that there should be more CCTV cameras installed in the municipality.
“What we have now is not enough. With more CCTV cameras, more areas can be covered.
“But at least we have some for the moment,” he said.
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