Trapped in a vicious cycle

Mariam Mokhtar
Aug 5, 2013

“Malaysia is more dangerous than South Africa,” were the parting words of a retired couple who returned to Johannesburg after a failed attempt to live in Malaysia under the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ (MM2H) programme. Friends of the couple said they had feared for their own and their family’s safety.

Unlike this South African couple, ordinary Malaysians are trapped in a vicious cycle of emboldened criminals, an inept police force and a government in denial. Few have access to guns like the Tan Sri who recently shot dead a thief at a clinic in Kuala Lumpur.

Owning a gun is not what Malaysians desire. We want a police force which is committed to tackling crime and not being the lapdog of Umno Baru. Cabinet ministers deny that a state of lawlessness exists. They issue statements and are then trapped by their own spin.

Former home minister Hishammuddin Hussein, more noted for his incompetence than his achievements in office, had complete disregard for the concerns of the public. He ridiculed the rakyat after they complained about rising crime levels and told them that increased crime was only a “perception”.

In October 2012, the government’s efficiency-monitoring unit Pemandu released data which appeared contradictory. This prompted the DAP’s Tony Pua to request from the home minister, a detailed breakdown of statistics, according to categories of crime.

Hishammuddin said the statistics were not available: “…the ministry is of the view that it is not plausible to present the detailed statistics for each crime category according to the various districts in Selangor and all states…”

He knows that BN’s fabricated crime figures would be exposed if the statistics were released.

What would Hishammuddin and his family know about crime when they have 24-hour security and well-guarded properties? Many Umno-Baru politicians enjoy the trappings of high office which closely resemble an aristocratic life of pomp, pageantry and pampering.

In 2010, PKR’s Tian Chua revealed that the police had lost 36 semi-automatic pistols, 51 revolvers and two sub-machine guns since 2001. The loss also included 49 motorcycles, three cars, one van and one 4WD.

Were these items lost through carelessness or were they stolen? What steps have been taken to ensure that the mistakes are not repeated?

Three years ago, the MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek allegedly called Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng a liar, when a Bernama report alleged that Lim had said that kidnappings were common in Johor.

Chua said: “If he really said that, then Lim Guan Eng is a liar….As I come from Johor itself, I say the statement is very unfair. The crime rate has gone down and Johor is almost all the time the country’s top investor destination.”

Today, Chua is trapped by his own words.

‘Political meddling’

The country has seen an unprecedented rise in gun crime, with six shootings recorded last week. Why did it take the murder of the Arab-Malaysian Development Bank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi, to wake Umno Baru president Najib Abdul Razak from his hibernation?

Did Najib address the nation because the high-profile murder of a foreigner would dent his image overseas? Was he afraid that his silence could be used against him in the Umno general assembly?

Najib said he was prepared to consider giving the police “whatever they required” to fight crime, provided these requests were reasonable and affordable.

Why the hypocrisy? His spirit is not willing and his flesh is even weaker. The police will never be given the independence they need to operate effectively. Umno-Baru finds the police useful for hounding opposition politicians, activists and dog trainers.

If Najib were sincere, he would push for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar fears that, with the IPCMC, police personnel would end up being treated worse than criminals. Only an Umno Baru politician would be capable of making stupid remarks like that.

When the former police chief Musa Hassan exposed corruption in the police force, we were angry with him for waiting until he had left office before making the revelations.

Musa had also complained about political interference. So, has Najib stopped this political meddling? Has Najib even begun to investigate any of the points raised by Musa? Have any conclusions been drawn, or is Najib afraid of revealing a can of worms?

Musa’s allegations of the police being linked to criminal syndicates are not new. We heard about them over 20 years ago, but what has been done?

Last week, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar fumed over the Singaporean newspaper The New Paper’s headline, ‘Welcome to Malaysia where… death is cheap and staying alive costly’.

There is some truth in the claims of the article, although it omitted to mention that inflation has increased the cost of arranging contract killings. In the nineties, an Ipoh man claimed that hacking off a limb would cost RM200 and that taking someone’s life would cost RM400.

Why two reports?

Today, Ipohites who are victims of crime, are angry when told to make two police reports; the first brief report must be made at the police station which covers their area of residence or where the theft occurred, whilst the second detailed report is to be made with ‘Team A’ at the police headquarters, opposite the Ipoh railway station.

Why two reports? Have the police so much time on their hands, that they feel it necessary to waste the rakyat’s time and taxpayer’s money, too?

Victims of crime are already traumatised. Must they go through more agony, this time at the hands of the police? Not everyone can spare money for travel, or time off from work or their hospital bed, to make several reports.

There are many stories of police incompetence or delay in reaching the scene of the crime. Some victims claim that the police are either too lazy or incapable of taking any forensic evidence.

In one case, the victim whose car was a write-off after a drunk driver drove into him, was told by the police not to mention the drunkenness in his report. Why? Others allege that the police brow-beat the victims into making very brief police reports. Is this to save police time or reduce their work load?

Khalid accused the Singaporeans of being busybodies, whilst Utusan Malaysia went further and claimed that jealousy was a contributory factor in the controversial headline.

Instead of quibbling about newspaper headlines, Khalid should act to reduce the crime rate of Malaysia. He faces a difficult task because he will be trapped in a mire of corruption created by rogue policemen, a corrupt judiciary and corrupt Umno Baru politicians.

“Selamat Hari Raya to everyone. Maaf zahir dan batin. When you balik kampung, spread peace and goodwill, and tell everyone you can about the injustices of Umno Baru.”

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

  1. #1 by Di Shi Jiu on Tuesday, 6 August 2013 - 11:06 am

    Eeerrrr… it’s only that South African couple’s perception that there is a lot of crime in Malaysia :)

    In fact, crime is probably so low that Pemandu is not able to provide any meaningful stats.

  2. #2 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Tuesday, 6 August 2013 - 11:23 am

    /// Khalid accused the Singaporeans of being busybodies, whilst Utusan Malaysia went further and claimed that jealousy was a contributory factor in the controversial headline. ///

    That’s right – Singapore is jealous of not being the SEA country with the most shooting in one month.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 6 August 2013 - 6:32 pm

    ///Najib said he was prepared to consider giving the police “whatever they required” to fight crime, provided these requests were reasonable and affordable.///

    Instead of “throwing” all the work to the police, Najib should take the lead as leader by coming up with some ideas himself and asking the police to brainstorm his ideas to see if they are applicable in reducing gun crimes.

  4. #4 by tuahpekkong on Wednesday, 7 August 2013 - 10:20 am

    I have read that South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world. The parting words of the retired couple who returned to South Africa were an exception rather than a norm. However the crime situation in Malaysia is serious enough to cause concern among most ordinary folks. Few people trust the Government’s crime figures anyway. Why should Singapore be jealous of us? Does Utusan Malaysia think that we have a lower crime rate than Singapore?

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