Government and Police should stop giving confused and conflicting signals about the gravity of the crime situation in the country and develop a National Policing Action Plan to reduce the double rise in crime rate and fear of crime
- DAP’s 46th National Day Celebrations-cum-“Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): The Government and Police should stop giving confused and conflicting signals about the gravity of the crime situation in the country and develop a National Policing Action Plan to reduce the double rise in crime rate and fear of crime with annual public monitoring and review of police performance and progress.
For instance, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Home Ministry Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Isnin said in Parliament on Thursday that Malaysia had done better than other countries in the area of solving crime, with the crime-solving rate at 40 per cent surpassing the level set by Interpol. The crime solving rate at the international level was only 20 per cent, which meant Malaysian police had solved 20 per cent more cases. (Bernama 4.9.03)
During the question time, Abu Zahar said the government did not propose to set up a commission to probe into the crime problem in the country as it was still at the manageable level.
Abu Zahar’s answer gave no solace, consolation or comfort to the ordinary Malaysians, who live in trepidation at the double rise in crime rate and the fear of crime, projecting an image that the authorities are totally insensitive and unmoved by the concerns and fears of Malaysians that they have lost their fundamental right to safety, security and freedom from fear in the streets, public spaces and the privacy of their homes.
In fact, Abu Zahar’s stance that everything was all right on the crime front was totally in conflict with the recent pronouncements by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The crime situation in the country had become so grave and worrisome that it was probably the first time it made its appearance in the Prime Minister’s National Day Message in the past 23 years. In his 46th National Day message last Saturday, Mahathir said: “Crimes like rape, incest and horrific murder are happening every day in our country when they previous did not.”
Abdullah’s public call at the Women’s Summit 2003 on August 25 to government agencies, especially the police, to place the safety of women higher on their agendas in the light of the increase of violent crimes against them, made the front-page headline of the New Straits Times the next day: “Priority for women’s safety. Protection from crime: DPM asks for comprehensive solutions”.
And yet on Thursday, 83 days after the heinous triple crimes of abduction, rape and murder of Canny Ong, Abu Zahar could affect in Parliament that Malaysians should be grateful that the police had surpassed the Interpol rate for solving crimes – as if this is reason enough for the people to bear and accept what Mahathir has described as “unheard-of” violent and horrific crimes, particularly against women!
Abu Zahar should have informed Parliament and the nation what are some of the “comprehensive solutions” which the police are taking to protect Malaysians and in particular women from crime in response to Abdullah’s call, instead of playing statistical games to show that the police have better international data than other countries in the Interpol – which is meaningless to the people.
Abu Zahar should be censured and sacked from the Home Ministry for his utter callousness to the victims of heinous crimes like Canny Ong and his unbelievable insensitivity to the daily happenings of crimes like rape, incest and horrific murder mentioned by Mahathir in his National Day Message.
At minimum, Abu Zahar should apologise in Parliament next week for his callousness and insensitivity about the victims of horrific crimes and the crisis of confidence over the double rise in the crime rate and the fear of crime making the streets, .public spaces and the homes no more safe and secure, which would have serious adverse consequences on foreign investment and tourism promotion in Malaysia.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman