“Policing for People” – police revolution needed

I was for a short stint a resident of JB, staying here for almost a year some 47 years ago.

JB has changed quite out of recognition in the past four to five decades, both for good and ill.

Firstly, I would not qualify to be a JB-ite, as there are people who now say that you are not a true JB-ite unless you have been a victim of snatch theft, robbery or other crime in JB.

Secondly, the haze from Indonesia forest fires are back, but in JB the people had been under a permanent haze in the past two decades with the JB air thick with the fear of crime which haunts the people, turning their waking hours into nightmares about their personal safety and those of their loved ones whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes.

Why is the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance starting its series of public hearings on “Fight Rising Crime” in Johor Baru?

Firstly, JB is the capital of crime with the worst crime index and the worst fear of crime for any metropolitan area in the country.

The Police have said the crime in JB is under control and that it is a safe city to live. Whether crime in JB is under control and a safe city must be a verdict made by the people of Johor and not the Police — and this is the reason for the Parliamentary Caucus’ public hearing.

This is also why there should be a police revolution and not just police reform in the country where the concept of “Policing for People” becomes the overriding objective of the Malaysian Police in democratic Malaysia, with the people as the primary voice in determining the police role, responsibility and strategy in fighting and reducing crime in JB, Johore and Malaysia.

We cannot continue to be in denial any more about the high crime index and oppressive fear of crime in JB.

We should not need to cross the Causeway to Singapore to feel safe. If we are not ambitious enough to make JB even safer than Singapore, we have the right to demand that residents, visitors and investors should feel as safe in JB as in Singapore.

We have a right to demand that the definition that a person is not a true JB-ite unless he or she had been a victim of crime in JB becomes history and a nightmare of the past.

If New York can succeed in wiping out its past notoriety as an infamous capital of crime, JB should be able to do a New York in reducing crime and the fear of crime, not just having a Hotel New York.

Dare we articulate these hopes and objectives on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations and are all the stakeholders in the country, whether the police, people, government, Parliament and the press prepared to take the first step to restore to JB, Johore and Malaysia a low-crime society?

This is the collective challenge we all face today and it is hoped that this public hearing can make a modest contribution towards addressing this challenge.

(Speech at Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance public hearing on “Fight Rising Crime” at Tropical Inn, Johor Baru at 2.30 pm)

  1. #1 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 12:06 am

    Why JB is not safe (crime)? I cannot think of any reasons. The only factor could be because it is located nearby Singapore. So, is Singapore making this place unsafe? With that, can we invite Singapore to make JB safer? Just lend us their police, for example, because they are closer to us compared to KL.

  2. #2 by Jamesy on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 12:14 am

    Gees…..I hope one day we would not carry guns for self-defence when we go out in the street and use it if need be…..and for the government to sanctioned the use of guns for citizens when police cannot afford us protection anymore from criminal activities…….it would be a real tragic for Malaysia……

  3. #3 by House Victim on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 2:35 am

    Revolution should be on the overall governmental operation!!

    Rights & Obligations, Transparency and Accountability are the basis that all Governmental office should head to. Self-motivation and self-respect are important to keep discipline in place. The job of Police must be clearly specified with a clear Code of Practice, Organization Chart and the respective Duties as well as their office contacts. Whether they should shine or tarnish will automatically be reflected on how well their duty been carried out with well defined index – nothing more than a good measuring system of their efficiency or performance. In return a good and regular rewarding and penalized system must be switched on and be transparent!

    An independent Complaint section should be set-up for both the police and the public so that together the system will be monitored internally and externally.

    Periodic report on number of different crimes, action taken, the rate of settlement, reward and penalties, etc. must be published so that the public know what have happened and can monitor as well. POLICE SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC AND NOT ONLY THE GOVERNMENT!!

    Turn on a system that either the Police will be proud of what they have performance or be shamed to see report of unsolved or unsettled matter!

    Any abuse of Rights of citizen or act of passing the buckets should be treated strictly and seriously. Citizens reporting crime could be Victim or volunteer to help, a minimum respect should be provided to them so that in return the Police will also be respected!

    Same as other governmental office, any rotten apples must be thrown out!!

    The Media should be put as a bulletin board for complaints and the publication of those periodic reports.

    A special committee at Parliament level should look into the matter periodically until the situation be improved and accepted by the Public!

  4. #4 by lupus on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 3:57 am

    To Jamesy,

    First of all, your average Malaysian will never be allowed to carry firearms for self-defense. Why ? It will show how bad crime has become in Malaysia and in the way declare Malaysia unsafe for the average tourist to walk down the street. If you walk into your bank these day, have you noticed that the guards are now armed with pistols and pump-action shotguns? In 2004/2005, they were only armed with a single/double barrel shotgun. A bank in PJ has 3 guards, 2 armed with pumped action shotguns, one with a 6 shooter.

    To top it – JPJ, Consumer affairs and RELA are armed with semi-automatic Glock (has one of the highest capacity of bullets in the world). If those Govt departments needs to be armed that way, it just goes to show that the Malaysian police is not able to enforce the law. How about first cleaning up the police force? Where is the IPCMC ?

    I do not thing carrying a gun is a good thing, infact, I feel that only the military and police should be the only people carrying firearms.
    Thing are bad – it just that your average newspaper does not report it that way.

  5. #5 by yellowkingdom on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 7:39 am

    Kudos! YB Lim for a well-run Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance. Thank you for a passionate and stirring opening address in the conspicuous absence of the Chairman, YB Nazri.(who arrived late, albeit at 4.40pm. Note : Session was from 2.30 to 5.00pm). YB Wan Azizah spoke on the need for a holistic approach to fighting crime from all facets. YB Wong Nai Chee could have done more instead of just rhetorics on non-partisan efforts in information gathering. YB Chong Eng reminded everyone present about the occasions of her visits. Mr Vikneswary, parliamentary secretary for Youth and Sports arrived a shortly after the session started, presumably not to be left out.

    The public hearing got off to a great start with an elderly gentleman professing his deep love for Malaysia and reminding everyone regardless of race to fight for our fundamental rights for personal safety and freedom. The session then took a turn with some grievances raised on issues about police inaction or inefficiencies in bringing to justice of murder, robberies and other crimes due to lack of evidence. E.g. The recent case last Friday at Taman Perling, where Mr Kulaisingam’s house was robbed by 3 Indian robbers but was stopped by 3 police officers who arrived at his house in time. Unfortunately, the police officers released the robbers when they pleaded for leniency. This left Mr Kulaisingam flabbergasted as to why they were not arrested and brought to the police station. They were caught red-handed! All 3 police officers were apparently young in age.
    A point was raised as to why the Johor Police Chief or its representative was not present for such an important public hearing on “Fight Rising Crime”.
    A participant asked the ‘terms of reference’ of the panel. He stated that back in 1st. April, 2004, at a public enquiry he had addressed former IGP Tan Sri Hanif, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye and other high calibre officials but his issue has come to naught. He again raised the source of rising crime in JB is due to collusion between politicians, police and the crime gangs. When queried for evidence by YB Wong, he retorted that as a tax payor, the police and ACA are responsible to investigate the case.
    Another participant raised the issue of squatter houses in many areas in the city that was left unchecked by the authorities or worse still under the ‘protection’ of enforcement officers, who collect fees. He also alleges that a nightclub operating in Taman Iskandar under police protection belonging to a certain royal, known to the public.
    A resident from out-of-town residing less than a year in JB said that his wife was a snatch-theft victim at the Tamn Johor Jaya wet market. A month later, his daughter was robbed of her Kancil car right in front of their house by two Mat Rempits with parangs. The car was later recovered by police two months at Taman Molek. When queried the police claim that it was the work of youths between age 16 and 22, who need RM600 to RM800 daily to feed their drug habits.

    Several participants offered suggestions and tips for both the police and public on enhancing personal safety. One said, “If the police wants us to co-operate with them, let them tell us what they want us to do and how to do it.” It is pointless for the police to say the public is not assisting them without stating the help they want.

    From the above, its is evident that crime in JB has not abated nor is under control, contrary to claims by the Police.

    I leave it to the Parliamentary caucus to present their findings.

  6. #6 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 8:12 am

    About the news that a deputy federal minister was involved in harbouring the gangsters, could it be a conspiracy theory laid down by SUPP leaders against the Sibu fraction of politicians? If the news was not leaked by the police, then the police should find out who leaked the news. If the news indeed came from the police, what should the police do?

    We must understand that many people in Sibu, of any backgrounds, seek politicians for help. In this case, I would not spare out the fact that gangsters also sought help from the politicians. This is indeed a culture of Sibu, and we ought to change it. Just to put a blame on the politicians or sending them to jail does not really help to solve the culture problem.

    About illegal logging by the gangsters in Sarawak, I am not sure what do we mean by illegal here. Are the group of politicians who own the license LEGAL? Are these licenses issued legally from the point of view of the people?

  7. #7 by megaman on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 9:54 am

    before asking ppl to walk your walk …

    you have to first walk your talk …

    before you can walk your talk, you have to make sure you are not talking senselessly …

    are the police and the government doing this ?

  8. #8 by Kingkong on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 10:20 am

    I have a fanciful suggestion usually for the lazy, incompetent or mind totally bankrupt people.

    Since we are so incompetent to handle such crime problem of JB for decades, why not we hire Singapore authority as crime management consultant and if necessary subcontract the job to their enforcement team for certain duration? When the problems have subsided, then get Singapore to train our personnel and pass back the management to our Boleh authority. There won’t be any face losing as we are still the paymaster and the “boss “.

    I am certain that will solve the problem as there are success stories shown in other industries.

  9. #9 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 11:16 am

    It’s a national tragedy when the BN political leadership is at a loss on so many fronts – the fight against corruption, the struggle against escalating crimes, the neglect on a myriad governance issues…

    And all the time….PAk LAh says ‘I don’t know’, the latest being the corruption allegations against a senior BN minister in Ezam’s documented memo to the PM himself. AFter 10 days, the memo is still sitting in the PM’s office…UNREAD or so it seems. It must be because PAK LAH had the cheek to say “I DON’T KNOW”.

    Guess what? The PM is still sleeping!

  10. #10 by HJ Angus on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 12:35 pm

    I am surprised that the Johor Police Chief was not present to deal with the grouses.

    Maybe he expected a roasting after the recent gathering for the petition.

    Asking Singapore to handle the crime situation is not politically correct. We should ask the police what is their programme to reduce crime in greater detail.

    For example, there could be standard operating guidelines on their response time to a reported crime and which stations would be the one to respond irrespective of where the report is made.

    Let us get some basic things done right before we expect any improved performance. Of course the IPCMC would be part of the paradigm shift for the RMP.

  11. #11 by sotong on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 12:50 pm

    This is the result of decades of bad and irresponsible leadership, gross mismanagement and neglect of the country.

  12. #12 by Cinapek on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 12:57 pm

    YB Kit,

    I was at the hearing yesterday and spoke briefly.

    I would like to extend my gratitude to you and members of the Caucus for conducting the first hearing on “Fighting Rising Crime” in JB as a cornerstone of the Caucus’s emphasis on the basic right of every citizen, nay human being, to be able to live without fear and without intimidation. By having this hearing in JB, it has helped to drive home the point that crime in JB is getting out of control, if not already out of control.

    You took great pains to emphasize that the hearing is not a “police bashing” session and this message was repeated by other members of the Caucus. I think this message was timely and important. While it is inevitable that the police will be criticised for their actions, or the lack of it, at such hearings, it will be counterproductive to overdo such criticisms. It will bound to create resentment and negative responses from the PDRM no matter how good the intentions are and defeat the purpose of the hearing i.e to find a lasting solution to the rising crime problems in the country. The muted criticisms at the hearing was testimony that the message was well received and I hope the PDRM noted this in the right spirit.

    AS I have pointed out at the hearing, clearly in the short term, a heavy handed approach is necessary to stamp out the rampant crimes. A strong message should be sent to the would-be criminals that the police in JB are taking a no nonsense approach to crimes committed. The latest incident where the police allowed three robbers to escape under their noses should be thoroughly investigated and if true, remedial actions must be taken. Otherwise, it is sending a damaging message to the criminals that the police are completely useless. This will encourage even more crimes. The “polis bodoh” incident in the taxi robbery last month is already a clear sign of the lack of respect for the police. Such poor perception of the police must be stamped out lin a oud and clear fashion. The police must take back the control of the streets from the criminals.

    Most of the crimes are commited by criminals on motorcycles. If frequent roadblocks are set up and motorcyclists randomly checked, this will be a deterrent. From the modus operandi of the robberies and other crimes, the police should be able to decide what is the best time to mount these operations.

    In the longer term, as Datuk Seri Wan Azizah pointed out, we should look at the whole problem holistically. JB’s rapid growth in the last two decades has attracted a large migrant population to JB. From reliable police sources I understand that this group is one of the main contributory factors to the rising crime rates. The proliferation of slums and illegal squatter settlements where drugs are freely available has made this worse. These settlements not only sheltered the migrant populations but also the illegal immigrants who is the other criminal prone group. As many speakers pointed out yesterday, some of these settlements enjoy the protection of people in positions of power and authority for obvious reasons. These allegations must be properly investigated and actions taken.

    Efforts must be made to contain and reduce the problems created by these two groups such as tightening the illegals sneaking into the country and creating more economic activities and gainful employment for the migrant populations in their own home states to reduce the inflow into JB.

    Finally, there is a marginalised group whose problems also must be addressed. These are the displaced people from plantations around JB who has lost their homes and jobs as their former plantations where they worked and lived has been taken over by housing estates. Many of these people are without ICs and have difficulty getting legal employment. Jobs washing cars and surfacing roads may not appeal to all of them.

    We need a strong political will to resolve this. All the problems from the various groups need to be carefully studied and remedial plans identified. We need a committed coordinating body( appointed by and reporting to Parliament? ) to put the remedial plans into action and monitored for results as it will involve multi agency inputs and solutions. Properly carried out, this will be a long term lasting solution to reduce the number of criminals on the streets and help the police to make the policing functions easier.

  13. #13 by dawsheng on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 3:54 pm

    I was there and lots of people too. I left with a big questions mark, will the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance bore any fruits? The last word by Nazri who turned up near the end of the hearing, is the most disappointing. He mumbled about the same things for more than ten minutes, but I was patience because this minister must said something to convince me that he had the determination to ask IGP Musa to resigned with immediate effect, then only the police force will be on track. And nothing came out from Nazri mouth that can make a complete sentence that means something. Folks, it is all bollocks!!!

  14. #14 by Kingkong on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 4:16 pm

    If we are sick, we seek the help of competent medical consultants. When our VIPs (including a former king) are sick, they seek the help of medical consultants in Singapore because the cases are beyond the competency of our local medical consultants. Similarly, the coping of our rising crime rates at JB is apparently beyond the competency level of our authority, (the police chief even didn’t dare to attend the meeting), the next best thing is to seek help from a more competent source, be it consultation from the nearest source, Singapore or elsewhere like NYPD.

    It is the attitude whether we really want to solve the problem or not. We should be able to forgo the political correctness if we really want to solve the problem for the people. Gurkha soldiers are considered the best in the world. Many countries have hired them for military combatants or security guards because they know they could solve their problem. Or should we call in our own military people to help for a start declaring an emergency state?

    To try not to seek help is equally bad as trying to hide your sickness.

  15. #15 by k1980 on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 4:48 pm


    It has long been one of Hong Kong’s great advertisements that law enforcement and the justice system can be counted on to be both effective and impartial. The 27,500-strong police force is widely regarded as one of the least corrupt and most professional in the world. At the same time, the crime rate for such a large metropolitan area is very low by world standards… had a murder rate one-tenth that of New York in 2005. Other crime trends are equally benign. In 2005, Hong Kong recorded 1,137 overall cases of crime per 100,000 people. The comparable figure for New York was 2,675; in London it was a staggering 13,091. The success of law enforcement here is often regarded as one of the most important legacies of British rule.

  16. #16 by dawsheng on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 8:52 pm

    Wong Nai Chee is typical MCA, but I admires the way he commanded attention from the audience with his fluent speeches in Bahasa. Well, I guess that’s what he is, just there to steal the limelight. He should know if he really wants to serve he is in the wrong side to start with, or is he good in doing oral only?

  17. #17 by dawsheng on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 9:11 pm

    When the first uncle speaks with his deep and sharp Mandarin accent, for a moment I felt like we are in China. No joke! He said something about the crime, but he is more worry because he says the issue is so sensitive he had to be careful about saying it, what about he don’t really know, what he is going to do he didn’t say anything about it, there were thounderous claps immediately after he finished and he proudly walked back to where he sit with his group of cheerful companions. Seated, still holding his head high until he notices there was a camera zooming right at him, someone is watching him. I saw him swallowed a gallon of saliva. I have forogtten what he said, well it doesn’t matter because I think it is not important.

  18. #18 by John F. Kennedy on Monday, 9 July 2007 - 10:58 pm

    Way back in 1987 – mark the year and what happened – all Barisan Nasional elected representatives were told that they were not to campur tangan when it came to police matters.

    Then it took some years for the slide to begin. Once the police knew that there was no one except a very few to check them, they just did what they just did.

    That is why so many precious months have elapsed and we could not have the IPCMC.

  19. #19 by hkgan on Saturday, 14 July 2007 - 11:16 pm

    Why are they so many crimes? Who are these people? Why are they commiting these crimes? Why are we sending UN peacekeeper to other countries when we cannot ensure safety for our fellow citizens in our own homeland?

  20. #20 by hkgan on Saturday, 14 July 2007 - 11:20 pm

    I like to suggest to the police that in Guangzhou, motorbikes are not allowed in certain areas and time. Can we do the same?

  21. #21 by hkgan on Saturday, 14 July 2007 - 11:22 pm

    Anyone knows when will the electic gun start selling? I saw it in the news.

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