Call on Abdullah to personally intervene and countermand the police ban on the anti-rape rally and march at Bangsar Shopping Complex on Sunday to send a clear and unmistakable message of joint government-police-people war against crime, in particular gruesome offences of sex and violence
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): DAP calls on the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to personally intervene and countermand the police ban on the anti-rape rally and march planned by the All Women’s Action Society (Awam) at the Bangsar Shopping Complex, Kuala Lumpur - the site of the abduction of Canny Ong on June 13 - on Sunday to send a clear and unmistakable message of joint government-police-people war against crime, in particular gruesome offences of sex and violence.
Since the hideous crime of abduction-rape-murder of Canny Ong more than a month ago, there has been no let-up in the incidence of crime, in particular gruesome sex offences and violence.
The day Canny Ong’s charred body was recovered on June 17, the body of another victim of gruesome abduction-cum-murder of female clerk Nur Mulhapiza Mat Lawi, 19, who was kidnapped near her apartment in Taman TTDI, Shah Alam two days earlier, was found gagged and her hands tied behind the back at Km 44.4 of the Nilai-Shah Alam Highway.
On Sunday, the body of Batu Pahat clerk Tan Wee Chee, 25, was found murdered with strangulation mark in a drain near a reservoir in Jalan Parit Botak, Senggarang, Batu Pahat after she went missing the previous Wednesday, with her burnt car found subsequently. On Monday, a 15-year-old schoolgirl was abducted when walking along Jalan Kinrara, Puchong in broad daylight at about 3.30 p.m. on Monday and raped.
Malaysians have lost the right to live without fear of crime whether at home, in the streets or public spaces. CID Director Comm Datuk Seri Salleh Mat Som recently said 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.
It is time that everyone in Malaysia, whether the government, police, the various communities or the civil society should unite and declare “Enough is Enough” to the double rise in crime rate and the fear of crime among the citizenry, with the Home Minister assuming leadership responsibility to reduce the crime rate and the fear of crime, in particular gruesome offences of sex and violence.
Abdullah should welcome the initiative by Awam to organize the anti-rape and march at the Bangsar Shopping Complex this Sunday as a great contribution to the important national agenda to reduce the double rise in crime rate and the fear of crime by creating the highest possible degree of national awareness and commitment against crime.
The refusal of the Brickfields police to issue a permit for the Awam anti-rape rally and march is a reflection of the myopic, unimaginative and hide-bound bureaucratic mentality of the police which regards every public gathering not held under the auspices of the government as a threat to public peace, law and order.
Abdullah should however know better – as the Awam anti-rape rally and march on Sunday is not targetted against the government or the police but against criminals and potential criminals by generating anti-rape and anti-crime public awareness to a critical mass to enable sustained and effective crime prevention, detection and conviction measures to be taken.
In fact, Abdullah should commend Awam and give his full support to its initiative by making a personal appearance at the anti-rape rally and march to give personal and official endorsement on behalf of the Home Ministry and the police force.
Something is very wrong with Malaysian democracy and human rights when hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong could gather this month since half a million people took to the streets on July 1 to protest against the hastily proposed anti-subversion legislation and the slow pace of democratic reform but Malaysian women and men are not allowed to gather and march to protest against rape and the rising crime and fear of crime in the country!
The shifting of the Awam programme on Sunday to the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre is a major setback to the cause against rape and the rising crime wave, and the attendance of the Minister for Women and Family Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will be rendered quite hollow and meaningless by the refusal of the police permit to allow the anti-rape rally and march at Bangsar Shopping Complex to proceed as originally scheduled.
It is not too late for Abdullah to personally intervene and to direct the Brickfields police to issue the police permit sought by Awam for the anti-rape march and rally at Bangsar Shopping Complex so that the police will not send out a completely wrong message – that it is more interested to fetter the actions of those who want to stop rape and the rising crime wave than to join forces with the civil society to create the conditions which fetter the commission of the heinous crimes of sex and violence.
It is very sad and tragic that on an issue which concerns the basic personal safety of every Malaysian, to ensure that their homes, streets and public spaces are free from crime and the fear of crime, senior Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders have been strangely silent, indifferent or unconcerned.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman