The decision of Petaling Jaya police chief Assistant Commissioner of Police Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal to drop a case against an impoverished woman who was caught shoplifting to feed her hungry children has garnered praise from Malaysian netizens.
The woman, who is in her 30s, was caught stealing a roll of pandan cake, sausages, and two packs of fever-reducing ice patches by security guards at a hypermarket in the Selangor city.
Nik Ezanee said on Thursday (21 January) that police decided to help her after studying the issue behind her decision to shoplift.
“We spoke to her and found out that her husband works as an elevator maintenance technician.
“He currently does not have work, which is why they are struggling to make ends meet,” he said.
Nik Ezanee said that he and other police personnel went over to the hypermarket and asked about the items the woman had tried to take.
“We bought it all and went to visit her at her flat,” he said.
The policeman added that although shoplifting is a crime, it would be a much bigger crime to prosecute a poor family on the verge of starvation.
Advising the woman to never resort to crime to feed her children again, Nik Ezanee highlighted that there are “soup kitchens, non-governmental organisations and the Welfare Department”.
Zakat aid is also available not only to the Muslim poor, but also non-Muslims, he added.
One netizen said that the Petaling Jaya police chief is “one model police officer who thinks out of the box and goes his way to help the community”, adding that he has done so “on many occasions”.
Others went to say that Malaysian politicians and ministers should follow Nik Ezanee’s example.
One netizen suggested setting up a hotline to make seeking help more accessible for the underprivileged.