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by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): All Malaysians would endorse the all-out war on crime declared by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during the bicentennial celebrations of the police force yesterday. However such a declaration of war would be ineffective and meaningless without the extra 60,000 police personnel promised or mobilizing existing police personnel carrying out routine administrative or bodyguard duties of VIPs to fight criminals instead.
What is surprising is Abdullah’s statement in The New Straits Times today that, “The criminal gangs and terrorist cells, he said, were being funded by wealthy groups to carry out their activities and used sophisticated equipment. They have links in foreign countries, enabling them to flee to another country to escape arrest.” Whilst DAP fully agrees with Abdullah, who is also internal security minister, that there must be no compromise in protecting the nation from undesirable elements, he must fully explain how pervasive and influential organized crime is in Malaysia.
The Prime Minister must identify the wealthy groups funding criminal and terrorist activities. Are the backing of such wealthy groups the reason behind the 15.7% rise in the national crime index of 198,622 in 2006 from 171,604 crimes reported in 2005 as well as the state of complete lawlessness in Sibu where gangsters rule unchecked? Only by rooting the problem in dealing with these wealthy masterminds at source can the high incidence of crime be reduced.
Malaysians are sick of hearing excuses or promises of adding 60,000 police personnel when there is no action or marked improvement in public safety. Even VIPs are not safe from burglary such as the home of former CID director Datuk Fauzi Shaari in Shah Alam on 13.2.2007 or murder by robbers such as former Chief Police Officer of Penang and ex-Bukit Bendera Member of Parliament Datuk Albert Mah in his home in Petaling Jaya.
With only 8,000 of the 96,000 police force involved in fighting crime, no wonder our national crime index keeps on rising. There is no rationale for 7,000 personnel in the Special Branch when the Prime Minister now considers crime the main enemy. With the end of the communist threat, these Special Branch officers should be transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department to help fight crime.
When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over on October 31 2003 as Internal Security Minister, the 2003 national crime index was 156,315. Three years later the national crime index has risen by 27% or 42,307 cases to 198,622 in 2006. Has the Prime Minister run out of ideas to stop crime spiralling out of control with the 27% rise in the national crime index from 156,315 in 2003 when Abdullah took office to 198,622 in 2006?
For how long must we see students get killed on the streets for their handphones, slashed with parangs for RM 2, and even openly carting away the entire ATM machines from banks which are supposed to be very well-guarded. Such cases have only highlighted the seriousness of rampant criminal elements threatening our citizens’ basic right to work, study and live safely.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP