Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 27th May 2010:
Proposal for a Parliamentary Caucus on Crime and Security to help Hishammuddin and Police to restore to Malaysians their fundamental rights – safe neighbourhoods, safe streets, safe homes and safe schools
In the past two weeks, the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein kept reminding the country that the street crime rate and the crime index have fallen by 39% and 15% respectively in the first quarter of the year, well beyond the 20% and 5% target set by the end of the year.
For the first quarter of last year 9,984 cases were reported while during the same period this year it went down to 6,158 cases.
Hishammuddin’s statement was repeated in a major local newspaper today.
There should be a sense of joy and relief that Malaysia is becoming a safer country, which is not only a fundamental right of Malaysian citizens and the most basic duty of any competent government in a civilized society, but also important in enhancing our international competitiveness to attract foreign investments so that Malaysia can take the quantum leap to escape the decade-long middle-income trap to become a developed high income country.
However, such a national sense of relief and joy is distinctly missing in public response and reaction to Hishammuddin’s repeated announcements in the past fortnight of a sharp drop of street crime rate and crime index in the first quarter of the year - to the extent that Hishamuddin’s announcement had to be repeated in a major national daily today.
Why is this so?
Malaysians are not niggardly in according praises when they are due and I have no doubt that Malaysians will not be stingy in singing praises for the police if they now feel safe and secure, for themselves and their loved ones as well as their property, whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes.
The reason why such praises are absent is very simple – there is no national sense of joy or relief despite Hishamuddin’s repeated announcements of police statistics of the crime National Key Result Area (NKRA) of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) for the simple reason that Malaysians do not feel that they have now safer cities, safer streets and safer homes.
In recent months, whether to influence police crime statistics or otherwise, there appears to be a reluctance on the part of the police to receive police reports. In my visit to Tawau early this month, I was told of a case where the police told a robbery victim that he need not lodge a report until the robber had been caught.
When Hishammuddin first became Home Minister last April, he commissioned opinion polls on the Home Ministry official website, which came out with three findings:
Hishammuddin “rubbished” these findings when I asked him in Parliament.
If the Home Minister himself refuses to accept the validity of the opinion polls conducted by the Home Ministry’s official website, why should Hishammuddin expect Malaysians to accept at face value his statistics that the street crime rate and the crime index have fallen by 39% and 15% respectively in the first quarter of the year, particularly when Malaysians do not feel comparatively safer as compared to last year?
One eloquent index whether Malaysia is becoming a safer country is whether there is mushrooming or reduction in the number of private guarded-and-gated communities, where Malaysians have to be burdened with an additional expenditure to have safer neighbourhoods when this is basic law-and-order responsibility of the Police and Government.
Now Malaysians have woken up to another shock – that on top unsafe cities, unsafe neighbourhoods, unsafe streets, unsafe homes, there is now unsafe schools as revealed by a recent Star expose on a “terror school” in Rawang where school gangs in the secondary school make it hell for the 3,000 students, together with the shocking revelation of the case of a 14-year-old girl being repeatedly raped by several of her classmates in various locations of the school over a three-week period.
The time has come for the formation of a Parliamentary Caucus on Crime and Security to help Hishammuddin and the Police to restore to Malaysians their fundamental rights – safe neighbourhoods, safe streets, safe homes and safe schools.
I will make this proposal when a Parliamentary Roundtable on Democratic Policing is held.
I will discuss the idea of a Pakatan Rakyat initiative to convene a Parliamentary Roundtable on Democratic Policing with Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang when I attend the Parti Keadilan Rakyat Congress in Kota Baru on Saturday.
It is timely that another Parliamentary Roundtable on Democratic Policing be held, dealing not only with the current public concerns about the alarming rate of trigger-happy police shootings and fatalities, like the 14-year-old Aminulrasyhid Amzah in Shah Alam on April 26 and 18-year-old Mohd Afham Arin in Johore Bahru in October last year, but also to revisit the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission Report 2005 and its 125 recommendations to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor