DAP calls on government to provide leadership to formulate a National Policing Plan to restore badly-shattered public confidence in police capability, effectiveness and professionalism to reduce crime and the fear of crime
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The following email by a Star reader typifies the pervasive sense of despair and desperation felt by more and more Malaysians about the breakdown of law and order and the deterioration of citizen security following the brutal Canny Ong abduction-rape-murder crime: “We have the tallest building, longest bridge and have achieved several other feats. Why can’t we try to have the safest place to live? What has happened to our society? We are no longer able to go out without fearing for our safety. – Tony Ng, Selangor”.
DAP calls on the government to provide leadership to formulate a National Policing Plan to restore the badly-shattered public confidence in police capability, effectiveness and professionalism to reduce crime and the fear of crime in the country, especially in the urban areas.
Victims of crime, including sex crimes, come from all races and religions, as illustrated by the Canny Ong crime on June 13, the rape and murder of Nor Suzaily Mukhtar three years ago and Form Five student Audrey Melissa in Kuala Lumpur in 1999.
This was further confirmed by CID Director Comm Datuk Seri Salleh Mat Som who said on Monday 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, Johor and Kedah topping the list, or 250 murders and 588 rapes during the period.
Last year, police recorded 1,431 rape cases, and 975 of the victims were Malays, 240 Chinese, 103 Sabahans, 90 Indians, 79 illegal immigrants and 44 Sarawakians. (New Straits Times 1.7.03)
The National Policing Plan, which must involve the fullest community and civil society participation, co-operation and consultation, should be the first step for major police reforms to make the streets, public places and the homes in Malaysia safe from crime and the fear of crime.
When the highest police authorities can make fundamental mistakes about Malaysia’s police:population ratio as compared to other countries, it raises the disturbing question whether there is professional police leadership and commitment to roll back the rising wave of crimes in the country and to give protection not only to individuals in public spaces and the privacy of homes but also to prevent the erosion of society and the undermining of the country’s economic prospects.
Public confidence of the professionalism of the Malaysian police is not enhanced, for instance, when there are contradictions between its crime statistics and those given by Interpol.
For instance, the Royal Malaysian Police website gives the following crime statistics for the country: (http://www.rmp.gov.my/PDRM%202002/Statistik%20Jenayah/jenayah_indeks.htm)
Kemaskini pada 31 Mac 2003
These data however do not tally with the crime statistics for Malaysia on the Interpol website (http://www.interpol.int/Public/Publications/sci/default.asp) which gives the following “Total number of offences contained in national crime statistics” for the following years:
Year Interpol website PDRM website
1997 126,553 121,176
1998 133,924 158,859
1999 - 169,115
2000 186,467 167,173
2001 - 156,469
2002 178,972 149,042
For 2002, there is a large variation of 29,930 offences representing a 20 per cent difference in the crime statistics for the year. What is the reason for such a big variation when the sources of the Interpol crime statistics are from the respective national police authorities concerned?
Based on the Interpol statistics for 2002, the police achieved 37 per cent success in the detection of the total number of crimes reported, which is not a satisfactory figure.
One important plank of the National Policing Plan to reduce crime and the fear of crime and enhance public security is to introduce effective, visible and modernized policing.
In Petaling Jaya, for instance, which is swiftly gaining the notoriety as the “crime capital” of the country, the 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 a fortnight ago that there are about 1,300 police officers catering for 1.5 million residents in PJ.
Will the initial intake of 4,000 police personnel out of the 23,000 police recruits in the next five years lead to safer communities in Petaling Jaya and other criminal “hot-spots” by increasing greater visibility and accessibility of police patrolling?
This appears unlikely as the Inspector-General of Police had said on Monday that the 4,000 new intake would be to beef up the Federal Reserve Unit and the Air Wing – which would strengthen the police capability to protect the present regime but would not contribute in any manner to restore to Malaysian citizens their sense of security in the streets, public places and their homes with more visible front-line policing to reverse the crime trend.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman