Shocking that there is less outrage and nation-wide hue and cry over the latest fatal casualty of snatch crime, Chin Wai Fung, 38, than the maltreatment of Indonesian maid Nirmala Bonet as if the life of an Malaysian is cheaper than a foreign worker

Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Parliament House, Wednesday): Why none of the  more than half a dozen Cabinet Ministers like Rais, Rafidah, Fong Chan Onn, Noh Omar and Shahrizat who rightly expressed shock and outrage  at the maltreatment of Indonesian maid  Nirmala Bonat did not show any concern about the senseless killing of snatch-theft victim Chin Wai Fung? 

Yesterday,  DAP MPs expressed shock that there is less outrage and nation-wide hue-and-cry over the senseless killing of snatch-theft victim, Chin Wai Fung, 38, clerk, in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur last Saturday than the horrific maltreatment of Indonesian maid Nirmala Bonat as if the life of a Malaysian is cheaper than that of a foreign worker. 

We also expressed the deepest fears and concerns of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, at the double rise in the crime rate and the fear of crime, with their loss of the fundamental right to safety and security in the streets, public places and even the privacy of their homes. 

This elicited an immediate response from the Deputy Internal Security Affairs Minister Datuk Noh Omar, issuing a straight denial that not much is being done on the rampant increase of snatch thefts in the country. 

Noh told reporters at the Parliament Lobby that police have increased their patrols in areas prone to snatch thefts.; and that apart from regular police patrols, there are undercover personnel, as well as motor-cycle patrols, in such areas. 

I regret that instead of taking seriously the protest of the DAP MPs and the millions of Malaysians outside Parliament who  have lost the sense and right of safety and security in their own communities and country, and verifying the real situation, Noh had come out with a knee-jerk,  unthinking and meaningless response just to put the authorities in a good light. 

What are these “areas prone to snatch thefts” which he claims are now receiving “regular police patrols – undercover and motor-cycle patrols”, whether he is prepared to make public the full list of these “snatch-theft black-spots” to allow the public to monitor whether there is improvement in the law and order situation and the crime statistics in these areas over time? 

DAP MPs are not interested in scoring debating points with Noh, as at stake is not who wins the argument, but whether Malaysians can feel safe in their own home, community and country without being constantly in fear for the security for themselves and their loved ones. 

Noh was concerned  and outraged enough about the horrific maltreatment of Indonesian maid Nirmala Bonat as to visit her at the Indonesian Embassy last Thursday, extending the government’s apology to her for plight – for which I commend him. 

But Noh was not equally or more concerned and outraged by the double rise in crime rate and fear of crime in the country, in particular  by the senseless killing of Chin Wai Fung, who was victim to four snatch-thefts in ten years which traumatized her life, as to move him to make a visit to Chin’s family over their bereavement. 

Snatch thieves strike at all Malaysians, particularly  women and girls, regardless of their race, religion or political affiliation – and it would have made a great Malaysian gesture if Noh, after visiting Nirmala at the Indonesian Embassy, could have the sense of responsibility  to act consistently as to visit Chin’s family after her senseless killing! 

In fact, it is not just Noh, but the  more than half a  dozen Cabinet Ministers like Rais Yatim, Rafidah Aziz, Fong Chan Onn and Shahrizat Abdul Jalil  who had rightly made strong denunciations of the maltreatment of Nirmala but had  kept conspicuously silent about the senseless killing of the latest fatal victim of snatch-theft, Chin Wai Fung, who need to explain their double standards! 

What is shocking and outrageous were some of the statements made by the Ministers,  which were not only against fundamental principles of justice and the rule of law but contrary to their own past practices. 

The Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim, tore to shreds everything he had written in his book “Freedom under Executive Power in Malaysia” when he said: “This is one case, I believe, where the adage of law ‘one is not guilty until found so by the court of law’ is not suitable for this category of crime.” 

The Minister International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri  Rafidah Aziz threatened media organizations that she would “lash out” at them if they masked the face of the 35-year-old arrested for Nirmala’s abuse and that of her husband’s, adding:  “I will also shout at the editors and raise this in Parliament.” 

If only both Rais and Rafidah had shown one per cent of their outrage and moral courage over the inhumane and  brutal assault of  former deputy prime minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in 1998 by the then Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, beating him to an inch of his life and bequeathing the notorious Anwar Ibrahim “black eye” which still haunts the government and the nation! 

DAP MPs met last night and discussed,  among other things, the gravity of the breakdown of  law and order in the country with the relentless double rise in crime rate and fear of crime, and the failure of the authorities to reverse the tide of crime, particularly in the urban areas in the country. 

DAP MPs decided to set up a special committee headed by DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Bukit Mertajam, Chong Eng, to launch a nation-wide campaign against crime and empower ordinary Malaysians to assert their citizenship rights to demand from the police and the authorities  tangible and measurable progress in their respective communities in  rolling  back the tide of crime. 

This nation-wide campaign against crime is not against the Police, but against the relentless double escalation of crime rate and the fear of crime.  It is to assist the Police to discharge their policing duties to restore safe and secure communities in the country and we  prepared to work  fully and closely with the Police and all  interested NGOs towards this objective.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman