Call on  police to focus on their primary duty to ensure maximum crime-free environment for citizens instead of  dissipating limited resources to prop up the undemocratic political infrastructure of the  ruling parties

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Tuesday): The three thefts and burglaries involving a Penang State Executive Councillor and two State Assembly members all occuring last Saturday should be a wake-up call to police to carry out their basic duties to protect citizens from crime instead of dissipating limited resources running political errands to serve the agenda of ruling political parties.

The three cases last Friday were:

Apart from confirming that DAP leaders are the poorest as compared to those from the ruling coalition, the three separate incidents on the same day involving elected representatives of three political parties in Penang hightlight the serious increase particularly in petty crimes in the state and  is another index of the deterioration in the quality of life in the Penang State.

The  Penang State Government should create a new portfolio (not another State Exco post) whereby a State Executive Councillor would be entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the closest liaison with the Police to ensure that Penang should enjoy the most crime-free environment in the whole country.

In this connection, the Police must convince Malaysians that they are doing their utmost to protect citizens from crimes and not dissipating their limited personnel and resources running political errands to serve the agenda of the ruling political parties which have nothing to do whatsoever with creating a law and order environment for the ordinary citizens.

The people of Penang will not forget how the new millennium started for them when hundreds  of  government personnel  from  Penang Municipal Council,   North East District Office,  Penang Waterworks Authority, Fire Service and the Police  could be  mobilised to evict tenants from pre-war houses and later on to demolish them - but various government agencies often complain of  lack of manpower to perform their most basic duties to the public!

In todayís press, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai said that the police are monitoring the activities of the reformasi movement  including provocation through the Internet and that appropriate action would be taken against the movement if it created public disorder.

I would presume that when Norian referred to reformasi movement, he is specifically referring to Parti Keadilan Nasional. In any event, I would like to know how Norian or the police would have the expertise to establish that any particular so-called Reformasi website, whether Laman Reformasi  or freeMalaysia, is directly operated by KeADILan?

Instead of wasting public funds and resources for police personnel to be monitoring Reformasi websites (which should be left to the Barisan Nasional parties), conducting searches whether newstalls are selling Harakah or deploying massive police presence to frustrate Malaysians from exercising their consitutional right to peaceful assembly, the police should focus single-mindedly on their primary duty to ensure as crime-free an environment  as possible for Malaysians, regardless of status, wealth,  race, religion, gender or age.

If Harakah and all political party publications are allowed free sale and circulation to the public, vast public funds and resources could be saved for there would be no need for an expensive  bureaucracy to enforce such  an undemocratic law.

Similarly, if the right of Malaysians to peaceful assembly is fully  respected by the authorities, vast police resources and personnel would be able to be freed and redirected to deal with the primary police duty to fight crime rather than to prop up  the undemocratic political infrastructure of the ruling parties.

It is precisely because the police are expected to protect the undemocratic political infrastructure of the ruling parties that it has lost public confidence in its competence, independence and professionalism.

Police reports lodged by the Opposition are ignored while the police operate with hyper-speed on  police reports lodged against the Opposition by the Barisan Nasional.

This may be why the police has shown no enthusuiasm to investigate into the RM12 million Swiss watches scam involving a Wanita UMNO-linked NGO (non-governmental organisation).

The Berita Harian had last Friday carried on the front page the allegation by a Swiss watch maker concerning  watches of a  popular brand  bearing the picture and signature of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr  Mahathir Mohamad and which  costs RM40,000 each.

The NGO ordered 300 such watches without paying any deposit as it  used a recommendation letter from a  senior Wanita Umno leader said to have obtained Dr Mahathir's consent.

According to the report, Dr Mahathir had refused his name to be used for any  form of business.

When the NGO failed to sell the watches, the manufacturer asked for the  return  of the watches but part of them were missing.

If it was an Opposition party and not Wanita UMNO which had been involved, the police would have launched a full-scale investigation and probably even lodged a police report itself!

Since his takeover as Inspector-General of Police, Norian has still to fully restore public confidence in the independence and professionalism of the police in cases having political dimensions.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman