Malaysian police's drone unit set to take off

General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, Inspector-General of Police.

SUBANG JAYA - Bukit Aman's pilot drones are set to take off by the end of the year, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said.

The drones will be used to monitor crowds during rallies and patrol neighbourhoods and "other sensitive areas", he said.

The drones can also be used to track terrorism or crime suspects from the air through a system linked to the police biometric database.

"We will start with small drones because they are not too costly, maybe three or four at first to be deployed in the Klang Valley first.

"But first we need to train the men on how to use the drones. We don't want them going into people's houses or bedrooms," he said, adding that the SOP and licensing for drone operation was being sorted out.

He said the use of drones would cut down police manpower needed to patrol housing areas.

The IGP said sensitive areas like schools could also be monitored by drones during certain hours.

Asked if drones would be used during the Bersih 4 rally planned on Aug 29, Khalid said it was a possibility.

"We can use it to record activities of those who take part in assemblies," he told reporters after closing the police Innovation Day at a hotel here.

Thirteen police teams from several state contingents vied for prizes with their inventions to cut costs and streamline police services.

Among those that caught the IGP's eye was an invention to save battery power in police patrol boats.

On the Internet "warfare" threat by Anonymous Malaysia, Khalid said it was external and that it would be difficult to track and investigate those behind it.

He said police had taken steps to ensure its website and social media platforms did not fall prey to hackers.

"We know that whatever announcement they made was not from Malaysia. Because this is what they can do, they can attack from anywhere. It makes it difficult for us to track and arrest," he said.

Asked if the group was working with Bersih 2.0 since its planned attacks coincide with the rallies to be held on Aug 29, Khalid said it was just a coincidence.

Anonymous Malaysia posted an eight-minute video on its Facebook page on Aug 4, calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister over recent issues.

The group threatened to wage "all-out Internet warfare" on the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and 150 selected websites.