While the increased police visibility in Johor Baru is greatly welcomed and has brought relief to the long-suffering people of JB who had suffered for years from the runaway crime and lawlessness problem, the police and government should realize that this is only a short-term measure and can be no substitute for a sustained and long-term strategy to make the southern capital a “safe JB”.
I call on the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to announce a concrete national policing action plan with a time-line to transform the crime “black areas” in the country into “Safe JB”, “safe KL”, “safe PJ”, “safe Penang”, “safe Ipoh” to restore the confidence of Malaysians, visitors and investors that the police has regained control of the crime problem.
The crime situation is no more just about the fundamental right of Malaysians to feel safe in their own country, whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes, but will affect the country’s economic development and prosperity.
This is because police control of the crime situation has become a negative factor for Malaysia’s competitiveness, turning away FDIs and tourists.
Crime and the lack of physical safety is one of the six factors cited by the European Commission Ambassador, Thierry Rommel, in his controversial speech on Thursday for dampening Malaysia’s investment climate and a reason for the decline in FDIs to Malaysia.
Yesterday, the New Sunday Times reported a roundtable discussion in Putrajaya to explore Malaysia’s potential as an international property destination, and even at such a discussion, the police loss of control of the crime situation became a major issue.
This is what one participant at this roundtable said:
“The perception is that the post-crime delivery system has failed in Malaysia.
“A few days ago in Melbourne, a city larger than Kuala Lumpur, a gunman shot three people. Within 20 minutes the policemen were there; within 10 minutes an ambulance arrived to take the injured to hospital.
“The police cordoned off the area and advised the people not to leave their offices. All of these were done within 45 minutes of the crime.
“This is the delivery system that is lacking in Malaysia.”
This is an illustration that the crime situation is no more a police problem but concerns the quality of life and economic well-being of Malaysian citizens as well as the economic prosperity and future of the country.