IT is rare to see a female officer lead a police district. It’s rarer still to see two given command within the span of weeks.
Sungai Buloh OCPD Supt Shafa’aton Abu Bakar and North Klang OCPD ACP Nurulhuda Mohd Salleh share many things in common.
Apart from being OCPDs in Selangor, they are both single women in their 40s, and accomplished police officers with a background in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
On Nov 15, 2018, Supt Shafa’aton made history as Selangor’s first female OCPD. Weeks later on Dec 13, ACP Nurulhuda followed suit after taking command in North Klang.
“When I first got the news that I would be promoted, I was scared. To the point where I just kept it to myself for three days,” said Supt Shafa’aton.
“I asked myself if I was ready for it. But I had support from fellow police officers.
“One of the calls I made was to Supt Haslah (Supt Haslah Bachok), who was the first female OCPD in Negri Sembilan.
“Also my other “big brothers” in the police force told me that I could do it.”
ACP Nurulhuda shared similar worries.
“I got advice from my seniors, including from my predecessor. They told me to keep an eye on the welfare of the men and to keep close watch on current crime trends. My family was also concerned for me, but I convinced them that I was ready,” said ACP Nurulhuda.
Even the top leadership of the force reassured them, with both revealing that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun and then Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Mazlan Mansor had personally spoken to them as well.
“Comm Datuk Mazlan also told the both of us to ready ourselves for many interview requests from the media!” ACP Nurulhuda quipped.
While it’s been barely months since both took charge, crime does not sleep. For 2019, reducing the crime rates in their respective districts remains their main mission.
Crime statistics in both North Klang and Sungai Buloh showed noticeable drops (around 24.22% and 14.7% respectively) in 2018, compared to 2017.
But things can be better; and these two tough and stern women are zeroing in on cutting the crime rate even further.
“Community policing is so important to our work and our target this year is to focus more on that aspect,” said ACP Nurulhuda. Her Sungai Buloh counterpart added that more engagement with housing communities there are also in the works.
While its still early days in their command, challenges abound.
The peaceful assembly on Dec 25, 2018, at Dataran Seni Klang heated up after Jaringan Melayu Malaysia president Datuk Azwanddin Hamzah Ariffin Abu Bakar urged the crowd to attack a police station if no action was taken in the murder of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
“I was given quite a challenging task. Thankfully we managed to contain the situation and the rally proceeded peacefully,” said ACP Nurulhuda.
When we broach the subject of gender discrimination, the senior officers insisted that they had never faced it in their careers. However, high ranking officers in the police force are generally male, with female counterparts far and few between. But times are changing.
“In my opinion it’s all about the trust given by the highest leadership. Look at our country now, our deputy prime minister is a woman. Not only in PDRM, but in other departments as well, women have been placed in more positions of power,” said Supt Shafa’aton.
“In my entire career I have never felt any gender discrimination. It depends on ourselves, on whether or not we want to move forward and compete.
“I believe that in today’s era, there will be more women given high-ranking positions. If given more chances in the future, they might be a female OCCI (state CID chief). God willing even a female DIGP (Deputy IGP) or IGP,” said ACP Nurulhuda
The police force aims to put women staff in at least 30% of the high-ranking posts in the foreseeable future.
And when work is over, each has her own way of winding down.
In a “previous life”, ACP Nurulhuda represented the country as a sportswoman for silat, and still keeps an active lifestyle outdoors despite retiring from martial arts.
Supt Shafa’aton is a fan of high-powered motorcycles, with her free time being spent on road trips on her Kawasaki Z800.
“I love riding on the weekends, but lately I haven’t had the chance. Maybe I’ll organise an event with the public in the future.”