According the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), there is a substantial amount of Malaysian law enforcement personnel capable of scouring the Internet for seditious comments or anything that may incite potential unrest among Malaysians.
Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, the PDRM IGP, revealed the number during a press conference at the 208th Police Day celebrations at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) on Wednesday. These men and women, according to the IGP, actively check for “writings, postings and various activities on Twitter and all other social media” 24 hours a day for seditious content that may be posted by irresponsible Malaysians.
Tan Sri Khalid said, “PDRM as the law enforcement agency will take the necessary steps in preventing any irresponsible act, including any element of the Islamic State…this irresponsible statement could disrupt public order.” He also called on Malaysians to “tweet responsibly“, urging Malaysian Twitter users to not incite anger among other users.
Referring to a recent campaign to ban him from Twitter, Tan Sri Khalid dismissed the movement. He said:
I have no problem if my Twitter account is closed/shut down by the Twitter operator because there are many ways to monitor Twitter and the social media…I have a total of 126,000 police personnel to check round-the-clock on all writings, postings and various activities on Twitter and all other social media.
While it is not an uncommon practice for law enforcers to be monitoring local social media activity, it is rare for the total amount of resources to be shared freely. That being said, the numbers revealed by the IGP also appear to be inflated, with a 2014 report from the force indicating that the total amount of personnel in the Royal Malaysian Police to be 114,318. The 126,0oo figure that Tan Sri Khalid is likely referring to is the total police force in Malaysia for 2015, and not a division whose duties solely revolve around checking social media pages.