Claims of doctored crime statistics need swift answers


― Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 24, 2012

AUG 24 ― Crime is an issue of great concern to everyone in the country. This is why it is necessary for the authorities to respond as soon as possible to the whistle-blowing letter from a police officer of over 30 years experience and his allegations of the doctoring of the official statistics. The longer the delay, the greater will be the impression that a cover up is taking place.

This disclosure of massaging and manipulation of the official statistics has been the hottest news over the internet media in the last few days and it has now been picked up by the opposition politicians.

To ensure that it does not become a political football and to preserve whatever trust and respect that the public has for the Barisan Nasional government’s statistics, especially related to the Government Transformation Programme, I would like to provide some advice to the Najib administration.

Who should respond

Firstly, no less a person than the home minister whose portfolio includes the police needs to address the issues raised by the whistle blower. Hishammuddin Hussein should convene a special press conference at which he can refute the damaging allegations made of political interference in the work of the police and the charge that “the police have succumbed to the political pressure in agreeing to achieve the targeted KPI set under the NKRA.”

Should he fail to do so, it will be an admission of guilt. Worse, it will show him as unfit and undeserving of the high position of home affairs minister. In such a development, it is incumbent on Prime Minister Najib Razak and the Cabinet to give him marching orders and put him out to pasture in the same way that has happened to Sharizat Jalil.

Secondly, Koh Tsu Koon and Idris Jala, ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, and the latter, chief executive officer of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) must not pretend to be dumb and deaf on this.

As CEO of PEMANDU, the unit monitoring the implementation of the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) initiative, Idris Jala is responsible for the statistical data that is released to the public. The whistle blower has provided a detailed account of how crime records are recorded and processed, and how these records have been manipulated to give the impression of a decline in crime in the country.

The onus is on Tsu Koon and Idris Jala to show that the whistle blower has got his facts wrong and to also answer the other serious allegations in the internet media on PEMANDU’s role in this botched attempt to fool the public.

For the sake of their conscience and personal integrity, it will be necessary for both Tsu Koon and Jala to apologise to the public should their own investigations show that the allegations made by the whistle blower are substantially correct.

This public apology must be followed by a cleanup of the mess and by strong action to punish those responsible for this despicable attempt to hoodwink the public on such a serious matter. Only in this way will Tsu Koon and Jala repair their reputation which is in tatters following this debacle.

PricewaterhouseCoopers and Crime Prevention NGO

There are at least two other organisations that need to be answerable to the public on this national scandal. One is PricewaterhouseCoopers who was paid a tidy sum to audit the crime statistics.

Have their auditors been a knowing party in the way in which the statistics were massaged? To protect and maintain their reputation, an internal inquiry followed by an official explanation is also necessary. If the whistle blower’s allegations are substantially correct, the public will need an assurance from PricewaterhouseCoopers that there will be no repetition of this despicable white collar criminal activity in any future work with the authorities.

In its Malaysia website, PwC claims to “take pride in the fact that our services add value by helping to improve transparency, trust and consistency of business processes.” For now, many members of the public are of the opinion that this declaration is simply bull s… and that PwC’s business is not conducted within the framework of ethical professional standards.

Finally, the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) must come out openly on this issue. According to the official literature and other news reports on the MCPF, the body is the largest NGO on the subject of crime prevention with the prime minister as the patron and the deputy prime minister as the chairman.

This officially sanctioned NGO has prominent members from both the public and private sector serving in its executive council at national and state levels. In fact, the list of executive council members reads like a who’s who of rich and famous in Malaysia!

I would especially welcome a statement from Lee Lam Thye who as vice-chairman of MCPF and of various other officially sponsored NGOs has been making statement after statement in the official media on this and that issue.

According to his latest statement, habitual shoplifters should be publicly shamed to deter them from continuing with their spree. In the news report he stated, “If people still want to continue filching stuff, then we may need more stringent punishment. A fine may not be enough. We need to publicly name and shame them via the media”.

To be fair to habitual shoplifters, I would like to suggest that we take up Lam Thye’s proposal and apply a similar punishment to those who have been guilty of providing cover to the doctoring of the crime statistics. This would also include any NGO that may be providing a fig leaf to cover up various naked official lies and untruths.

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