10-year-old Nurul Huda’s gang-rape and murder a grim reminder of the grave deterioration of Public Safety Index and the urgent imperative to reverse the worsening trends
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The gruesome and heinous gang-rape and murder of 10-year-old Nurul Huda Abdul Ghani in Tanjung Kupang, Gelang Patah, Johore yesterday is a grim reminder of the grave deterioration of the Public Safety Index in the country and the urgent imperative for a nation-wide campaign involving all sectors of the society to reverse the worsening trends.
The Malaysian Quality of Life Index (MQLI) 2002 Report issued by the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department reported that the Public Safety Index fell by 16.01 points in the ten years from 1990 to 2000.
The Public Safety Index is measured by two sub-indices: - (i) crimes per thousand population and (ii) road accidents per thousand vehicles. The crime rate increased from 3.8 in 1990 to 7.1 in 2000 with more than four-fifths of the crimes related to property. Road accidents per thousand vehicles increased from 19.4 in 1990 to 21 in 2000. Almost half of the road accidents involved motor-cycles.
In the past three years since the MQLI 2000, both sub-indices of the Public Safety Index had worsened considerably, marked on the one hand by the double rise in crime rate and the fear of crime where Malaysians had lost their most basic human right to security and to live without fear about their safety and that of their loved ones, whether in the streets, public places or in the privacy of their homes. On the other hand, the high incidence of road accidents, fatalities and injuries have made Malaysia one of the most dangerous countries in the world in terms of road safety.
In this connection, it is most disturbing that despite the personal concern of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi about the unacceptably high road carnage in the country, there is a growingly wide gulf between words and actions to deal with the problem.
For instance, there was minimal publicity in yesterday’s media about the statistics for the first day of Ops Sikap VI on Thursday, January 15, 2004 on road accidents and deaths during the Chinese New Year holidays – 743 road accidents and 10 fatalities. However, such statistics was published only by one English-language paper and one Chinese-language daily, unlike the full publicity given by all media in previous Ops Sikap operations.
Today, none of the newspapers published any statistics on road accidents and deaths on the second day of Ops Sikap VI – giving the distinct impression that instead of creating greater public awareness as an essential condition to ensure the success of the national road safety campaign, there is now a reverse strategy focusing on less public awareness about road accidents and deaths during the Chinese New Year season!
Can those in charge of the national road safety campaign during the Chinese New Year holidays to reduce the unacceptably high rate of road accidents, deaths and injuries in the country explain what is the new strategy that is being implemented to reduce road carnage and improve the Public Safety Index in the country, which emphasizes less publicity, information and public awareness?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman