Celebrating Police Day! (4)
By Martin Jalleh
The rakyat was told that the government’s battle against crime showed good results in 2010. Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein announced in May 2010 that his Ministry’s success in reducing the crime rate index for the first four months of the year had surpassed the initial target.
Minister in the PM’s Department Senator Idris Jala revealed the results of the National Key Results Area (NKRA) for crime were outstanding for the first quarter and what the police and the ministry had done in that period was totally beyond expectation.
In Oct. 2010 a very elated IGP Ismail Omar proudly declared that police statistics indicated a significant drop in street crime by 38% and in the overall crime index by 16% between January and September.
But strangely, and as was so aptly put by Lim Kit Siang in October, “…up and down the country, ordinary Malaysians do not feel this dividend of fall of crime index in their daily lives as they do not feel comparatively safer in the streets, public places or privacy of their homes…”
In fact Kit Siang’s sentiments were so eloquently echoed by former Deputy Bank Governor Tan Sri Dr. Lin See Yin, in his article “The mystique of national transformation” which appeared online before the year ended:
“As I see it, discernable progress in four areas of priority concern to the rakyat and investors needs to come early enough to build confidence. They are corruption, crime, education and private enterprise.
“It is not enough to show that in the first nine months of 2010, crime fell by 16% (but still have 132,355 unresolved reported cases) and street crimes fell 38% (18,299 unresolved reported cases) or that 648 people were arrested for corruption.
“The public and investors (with ears on the ground) have to “feel” any improvement. Raw and biased statistics cannot tell the real story, and don’t impress. At this time, it would appear the rakyat and investors don’t “feel” any material improvement in the crime and corruption situation. That matters. But they don’t rush to judgment.
“What they want to “feel” is for today to be better than yesterday, and tomorrow to be better than today; and come tomorrow, their expectations are fulfilled. Incidents from personal experience reinforce this.”
In spite of the claims by the authorities and public surveys of a drop in the public’s fear of crime thereby signifying growing confidence in the police force, the fact remained, as John Sebastian wrote in the Malaysian Insider (18 Nov. 2010) that:
More housing estates are having to handle own security, hire guards and put up barricades.
Police are more reluctant to accept reports from public.
Malaysians are altering their lives every day because of fear of crime.
People are putting in more locks, closed-circuit or cyber-camera systems and alarm systems. Because they don’t feel safe.
“So if Pemandu and any other alphabet soup committee actually believe the better crime situation in the country, they must be on magic mushrooms.
“The day Malaysians don’t feel the need to engage their own security guards to guard their homes and family is the day when the tide against crime has been turned.
“That day isn’t coming as soon as the next general elections. So give us a break. Spare us the good news according to surveys. Just do more to make all Malaysians feel safe.”
Perhaps the public would feel more confident about the police, about being more safe and secure and that the statistics truly reflect the crime rate reality – when the police stop playing politics and government sets up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).