tomorrow should show its serious concern about the escalating crime wave by
approving the establishment of a Rosli Award to honour Rosli as well as
encourage public participation to fight crime instead of leaving the matter
to the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Tuesday): Parliament has done itself a great service yesterday in establishing its relevance to the burning concerns of Malaysians when it debated at the first available opportunity the escalating crime wave in the country tragically highlighted by the death of van-driver Rosli Mohd Said, 36, last Tuesday when he tried to catch a snatch thief – the third snatch-theft casualty in five weeks.
The Cabinet tomorrow should show its serious concern about the escalating crime wave by approving the establishment of a Rosli Award to honour Rosli for his heroism and public-spiritedness as well as encourage public participation to fight crime instead of leaving the matter to the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation.
I find the government’s response to my proposal for the establishment of a Rosli Award as given by the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Noh Omar during the debate on my motion yesterday most unsatisfactory and unacceptable. Noh said he would discuss the proposal with the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation.
I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also the Internal Security Minister, to cut through all the bureaucratic red-tape and mentality on the issue with a Cabinet decision approving in principle the Rosli Award with the twin objective of firstly, honouring Rosli’s memory for his sacrifice and public-spiritedness and secondly, to encourage and honour members of the public for helping to roll back the crime wave in the country, particularly in the crime capitals of the country, viz: Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Johore Baru, Penang and Ipoh.
After the Cabinet have given its approval for the establishment of the Rosli Award and its twin objectives, its details could be worked out by the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation or even the Ministry of Internal Security.
The issues of Rosli’s sacrifice and unnecessary death, as well as the urgent need to roll back the escalating crime wave, must unite all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.
The attitude of some Barisan Nasional MPs yesterday during the debate who could not rise above petty and narrow partisan considerations, insisting on trying to politicize the issue of the escalating crime wave, most disappointing and disgusting - disgracing Parliament and their respective political parties. I find it refreshing and hopeful however that this is not the attitude of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his government.
Last night when I was in Bentong, I spoke to Rosli’s father, Mohd Said who had phoned up from Alor Star to express his thanks and appreciation for the parliamentary motion to pay tribute to Rosli. I call on all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political party affiliation, to continue to take a common and united stand to roll back the crime wave in the country so that Malaysians can restore and enjoy two fundamental rights – the freedom from crime and the fear of crime!
I wish to put on record that I find Noh’s reply to my motion yesterday most unsatisfactory and unacceptable on several issues of the escalating crime wave in the country, such as:
1. Data on deaths from snatch thefts
Noh disputed my statement about the alarming escalation of snatch-theft crime, causing three deaths in five weeks when in the past five years it had caused an average of one death per year. Noh said that police records show that death as a result of snatch thefts only saw one case each in 2002 and last year, whereas there have been four cases so far this year.
I refer Noh to the New Sunday Times Nuance report of 6th June 2004 which reported the following five deaths from snatch thefts in the five years from 1999 to 2003, i.e. an average of one death per year in the past five years:
Noh said police records show that there was a snatch-theft death in 2003, which was not listed in the New Sunday Times Nuance report – showing that the snatch-theft fatalities were even more serious than I had painted. Noh should give details of the snatch-theft death in 2003, which had been missed by the mass media.
Noh should also give full particulars of another snatch theft death this year which had been missed by the mass media and the public, as Noh said there had been four such deaths this year when the public are only aware of three, viz:
Noh should inform Parliament and the nation the unreported fourth snatch-theft death this year.
It is clear that I had not exaggerated but had understated the data on snatch theft deaths this year or in the past five years.
2. Problem of majority of snatch-thefts and other crimes which go unreported
Noh’s refusal to own up to the problem of the majority of snatch thefts which go unreported to the police is not only an act of denial but downright irresponsible.
Nanyang Siang Pau today carried a front-page report of its findings of a survey of 337 respondents which showed that half of the victims of snatch-thefts, house break-ins and sexual harassment do not report to the police, with 45.2% stating that the police would not be able to be of any help, 29% for lack of evidence, 11% because of the great inconvenience in lodging police report.
In fact, in the meeting of DAP MPs with the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Bakri Omar and other top police officers in Bukit Aman during the last parliamentary meeting last month on the crime situation in the country, I had raised the problem of the majority of the snatch-theft victims either not making police report or not giving proper report (as advised by the police) as “articles stolen” to avoid all the hassle and inconvenience to both the police and victims without any fruitful outcome whether in nabbing the culprit or recovering the stolen property.
As I told the House yesterday, at the DAP anti-crime public meeting in Ipoh last Wednesday, a member of the public testified that she had been a snatch-theft victim five times but she had only lodged police reports in the first two instances but not the other three times, discouraged by her experience at the police station.
Instead of continuing to be in denial about the majority of snatch-thefts not being reported, Noh should give top priority to discuss with the Police to find ways to simplify the procedure for the lodging of police reports by the public so as to encourage rather than discourage the public to lodge police reports when they are victims of crimes.
3. Ministerial statement on 234 crime hotspots in the country and the policing strategy to reduce crime rate in these areas by at least 50%
Nor should make a Ministerial statement on the 234 crime hotspots in the country and the policing strategy to reduce crime rate in these areas by at least 50%.
I had raised these issues in my motion yesterday, but the Deputy Internal Security Minister had not replied to them. I do not know whether this omission was deliberate or it was simply because he did not have the time.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr. Maximus Ongkili, had said over the weekend that neighbourhood patrol units will be set up in each of the 234 crime hotspots in the country by the year’s end to get the people’s help to reduce the crime rate, claming that trial neighbourhood patrol units in Seberang Prai, Penang in the past year had caused some 50% drop in the crime rate. He went on to say that the government is targeting a 50 per cent drop in the crime rate.
Malaysians will find such a claim quite dubious, for a variety of reasons. It seems to be quite unbelievable that with the establishment of neighbourhood patrol units in the 234 crime hotspots in the country, the crime rate could be reduced by 50 per cent without any significant increase or redeployment of police personnel for the areas.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman