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Barring the media from attending the public hearing on crime is not only wrong, undemocratic and violates press freedom but also makes the police appear as one with eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear and a heart that does not feel


Press Statement

by Lim Guan Eng



(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP unreservedly condemns the decision of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance public hearing on crime to bar the media from attending so that it would not be portrayed as a police-bashing session. Why should Caucus Chariman and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nazri Aziz take such extreme measures to placate the police when the police demonstrated their lack of respect for Parliament by boycotting this public hearing? 

Barring the media from attending the public hearing on crime is not only wrong, undemocratic and violates press freedom but also makes the police appear as one with eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear and a heart that does not feel. The police should be reminded that they have a responsibility to attend this public hearing called by the rakyat as their salaries are paid by the people. Further, following the 35% pay rise for civil servants, the people have a right to demand not only better performance and service but that the police listen to their grouses, no matter how unpleasant or uncomfortable. What is the meaning of holding a public hearing that is not public in nature? 

Whatever the discomfort the police may feel from hearing public criticism is nothing compared to the pain and suffering endured by the victims of crime. Nazri is being disingenuous in saying that barring media from the public hearing will ensure a freer climate for participants to do so in giving deputations without any inhibition. Has Nazri asked the participants or is there a single person who say she or he dare not express their views just because the media is there? 

Nazri and the police should appreciate the perception that they are helpless and powerless in protecting the public from criminals and violent crime. Rampant crime is on the rise as shown by a recent reply from Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to Parliamentary Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) that the country recorded a 8.7 percent increase in the crime index. A total of 87,582 cases were recorded between January and May this year, an increase of 7,006 cases from 80,576 cases in the corresponding period last year. 

Selangor topped the list for both petty and violent crimes with 2,933, followed by Kuala Lumpur with 1,954 crime cases and Pahang 1,391. Surprisingly Johor recorded the most substantial decrease at 847 less crime cases or 8% compared to the previous year. No one would believe these figures when rapes and robberies happen regularly. 

These figures fails to reflect the reality on the ground, principally because victims of crime have given up on reporting to the police. Victims of crime have given up on reporting to the police because of the unco-operative attitude and that the police seem helpless against criminals. Nothing is so evident at how ineffective the police are when thousands of Mat Rempits rule the roads on Saturday nights with the police only standing by and watching impotently. 

DAP urges the public that despite the inconvenience and the lack of confidence in the ability of the police to solve crime, they must lodge police reports so that there is no false impression that the crime situation is under control when this is not the case.

Have a full-time minister of crime prevention with oversight over the police to fight crime

There must be three urgent measures to restore public confidence in the police’s ability to combat crime and ensure the four basic rights of security to every Malaysian – to live, work, study and play in a safe environment. First, DAP urges the government to establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission(IPCMC) as recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Police.  

DAP expresses disappointment at the refusal of the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hasan to take legal action to clear his name against serious and detailed allegations of corruption and involvement in triad activities such as prostitution, loan sharking and gambling. Tan Sri Musa’s refusal to do so has only given greater credibility to the charges and raised greater suspicions of the police’s commitment to fighting corruption and abuses of power. Only the IPCMC can check police abuses and improve police integrity and performance so that the people in Selangor, Johor and Malaysia can live, study, work and play in a safe and secure neighbourhood free from crime.  

Two, the government must be prepared “outsource” by seeking help from successful police agencies from other countries, including Singapore. The government must spend whatever amount of extra money required whether RM 5 billion or more in emergency allocations to form a fighting police force that is competent, courageous, sensitive and committed to fighting criminals. The people have a basic right to a crime free environment as taxes have been paid to form an effective police force.  

Third, the Prime Minister should give up his Internal Security Ministry Post so that there can a full-time Minister handling the job. Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was severely criticized for preferring to go overseas than go to Johor Baru to personally monitor the deteriorating crime situation and motivate the police to fulfill the responsibilities. Appointing a full time Minister should spark off an attitudinal change by the police in admitting the seriousness of crime and their failure to stop rampant crime.   

If Abdullah refuses to give up the internal security ministry then he should create a new Minister of Crime Prevention that focuses on effective crime prevention and ensure the 4 basic rights of security – to live, work, study and play in a safe environment.



* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

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