Urgent email to Abdullah to provide high-profile personal support to the Awam campaign against rape and violence to make every Malaysian aware of the shocking crime rate in the country with an average of four women raped daily and three murders every two days
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Today’s press reported the latest case of rape of a 30-year-old waitress by a taxi-driver under the cover of darkness of night at a rubber estate in Dengkil while on her way home after fetching her year-old son from Petaling Jaya. (Star).
Sex and violent crimes, however also strike in broad daylight, as happened on Monday when a 15-year-old school girl was abducted when walking along Jalan Kinrara, Puchong at about 3.30 p.m. and raped.
I have this morning sent an urgent email to the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi urging him to provide high-profile personal support to the campaign against rape and violence by All Women’s Action Movement (Awam) to make every Malaysian aware of the shocking crime rate in the country where in the first five months of the year, an average of four women were raped daily while there were three murders every two days with Selangor, Johore, and Kedah topping the list, or 250 murders and 588 rapes during the period.
In my email to Abdullah, I called on the Home Ministry to provide leadership in a nation-wide campaign against crimes of sex and violence by adopting a three-prong strategy:
Firstly, personal endorsement by Abdullah of the orginal Awam programme to hold a anti-rape rally and march on Sunday at the Bangsar Shopping Complex, Kuala Lumpur – the site of the abduction of the gruesome Canny Ong abduction-rape-murder crime on June 13 - by directing the Brickfields Police to issue a police permit for the event.
Secondly, send out a directive to all Cabinet Ministers and government officials to give top priority and support to the campaign against rape and violence, the rising crime rate and public fear of crime, which should not be relegated as a minor event to be left to less-important officials or womenfolk like the Minister for Women and Family Development. At Sunday’s Awam anti-rape rally and march, heavyweight Cabinet Ministers, regardless of gender, and not just Women and Family Development Minister, Datuk Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, should attend to give their public support and encouragement.
Thirdly, set up a Cabinet Committee involving inter-Ministerial, multi-disciplinary and even all-party/NGOs/civil society approach to reduce crime and the fear of crime, in particular offences of sex and violence.
On Wednesday, Abdullah set up a Cabinet task force comprising the Education, Finance and Works ministries to investigate the delay in the construction of school computer laboratories, following the shocking discovery that two years after the deadline to complete the first phase of the project to build computer laboratories in schools, only 68% had been completed, and even more shocking, that 487 of the 600 computer laboratories in primary and secondary schools in Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan are unfit for use, and 87 of the schools have roofs that are in danger of collapsing.
There should be no delay, however, in establishing a high-level Cabinet Committee entrusted with the task of devising an effective national agenda and strategy to reduce crime and the fear of crime, as the time for complacency, whether by the government, police or the citizenry about the drastic fall in the public safety index in the past decade must come to an end. The crime rate measured by crimes per thousand population almost doubled from 3.8 in 1990 to 7.1 in 2,000, and it has worsened in the past three years.
Many brutal and violent sex crimes have remained unresolved, such as:
The crime situation has got worse instead of better, as evidenced by the statement by the CID Director Comm Datuk Seri Salleh Mat Som that in the first five months of the year, an average of four women were raped daily while there were three murders in every two days in the country. 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.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman