PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is calling for a greater police presence in urban areas.
Badawi urged police officials at the prime minister's annual gathering with civil servants to increase their presence by setting up small stations or what he referred to as "beat bases" in empty shop spaces in densely populated areas, the Malaysian government reported.
"I want the police presence to be felt everywhere so that the (people) can feel safe and confident," Badawi said in a statement. "It will also have a deterrent effect on would-be criminals."
Badawi, who also acts as Malaysia's internal security minister, says the increased presence would enable faster emergency response times, lower crime rates and increase counter-terrorism effectiveness.
"We should not wait for new police stations to be built," Badawi said. "While we wait, crimes take place. It is not that the government has no money to build more police stations, but in small towns, new stations tend to be built away from where people live. We have to be near to have faster response times."