Bukit Aman should increase deployment of police personnel to Petaling Jaya, which is swiftly acquiring notoriety as “capital of crime”, to raise police:population ratio and ensure that additional police duties to protect MPPJ enforcement officers would not expose the PJ residents to greater crime rate and fear of crime
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): All forms of criminal action, whether against ordinary citizens or government officers including enforcement officers must be condemned by all and severely dealt with by the authorities, as society cannot countenance any form of criminality if the fabric of society is not to disintegrate from flagrant defiance of the law or any attempt to revert to the law of the jungle.
The assault of the five Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) enforcement officers on Tuesday night during their raid on illegal VCD stalls in SEA Park on Tuesday night is intolerable criminality and the police must leave no stone unturned to bring the culprits to book to face the full consequences of their offences.
Since then, the MPPJ enforcement officers conducted their operations with full police protection – 15 uniformed policemen to protect 36 MPPJ enforcement officers on Wednesday night.
While the citizenry want MPPJ and other enforcement officers to be safe and protected from harm in the discharge of their duties, they also have a fundamental right to demand effective police protection so that they have a safe and secure environment to live, work and play – which has become an increasingly scare commodity in Malaysia, but particularly in Petaling Jaya which is gaining the notoriety of “capital of crime” in Malaysia.
Let there not arise a situation in PJ or in any part of the country where the citizenry are aggrieved because the police could only provide effective protection to enforcement officers but not the ordinary people in the streets, public places and their homes from crime and the fear of crime.
As a first immediate step, the police national headquarters in Bukit Aman should increase deployment of police personnel to Petaling Jaya to ensure that additional police duties to protect MPPJ enforcement officers are not at the expense of the well-being and safety both to life and property of the PJ ratepayers by exposing them to greater crime rate and fear of crime.
In view of PJ’s notoriety as a crime capital, there is already a long-standing and urgent need to increase the police presence, especially as its police-population ratio is as high as 1:1154 as compared to the national average of 1:283, as the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung, said recently that there are about 1,300 police officers catering for 1.5 million residents in Petaling Jaya.
In fact, Petaling Jaya has become so unsafe even to the police personnel that one OCPD recently admitted very frankly that he had stopped jogging in his own police district!
Yesterday, the police quoted Interpol to claim that Malaysia is “one of the safest countries in the world”, on the ground that the crime rate in Malaysia is among the lowest in the world with an average of 730 cases for every 100,000 people, with 178,972 cases reported to the police last year.
This statement by the Royal Malaysian Police Superintendent of Public Relations Supt. Jamshah Mustafa is quite meaningless, irresponsible and insensitive in totally ignoring the highest level of public concern about the double rise in crime rate and fear of crime in the nation’s history.
The police should not indulge in the game of statistics with the citizenry on law and order, completely ignoring the fact that the Malaysian Quality of Life Index 2002 prepared by the Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister's Department, surveying the 11-year period from 1990 to 2000, reported a sharp fall in the public safety index with the crime rate measured by crimes per thousand population almost doubling from 3.8 in 1990 to 7.1 in 2,000 – with the situation getting worse instead of being better.
The attempt by the police to make light the serious situation of the double rise in crime rate and fear of crime is even more inexcusable after the recent revelation by the CID Director Comm Datuk Seri Salleh Mat Som that just in the first five months of the year, an average of four women were raped daily while there were three murders every two days in the country, with Selangor, Johore and Kedah topping the list.
From the crime index for the first six months of the year, the incidence of rape, crime and violent crimes have worsened as compared for the same period last year, as shown below:
These crime statistics are subject to the proviso that in some instances, like rape, reported cases are as low as 10 per cent of the actual incidence.
The police has failed to address one important factor – the importance of public perception. For instance, there could be a scenario where the incidence of crime has dropped but public fear of crime has, in contrast, greatly arisen. Even in such a situation, the police cannot just wash its hands of all responsibility, because it would have grave socio-economic implications, in terms of reducing the quality of life of the citizenry as well as undermining economic stability in driving away tourists and investors. This however is not the case in Malaysia, which faces the double jeopardy of a rise in both the crime rate and the fear of crime.
DAP calls on Parliament to propose at its 2004 Budget debate next month the introduction of two innovative ideas to combat the double rise of crime rate and fear of crime in Malaysia, viz:
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman