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Albert Mah gave his life to the Police and
nation – but police and nation have let Albert Mah down
(Parliament, Tuesday) : The nation grieves the passing of former Penang Chief Police Officer, Datuk Albert Mah – not only his death but the manner of his death.
Albert Mah, 82, gave his life to the Police and nation but the police and nation have let Albert Mah down.
Together with DAP Deputy National Chairman and MP for Kepong, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Treasurer and MP for Bukit Bintang, Sdr. Fong Kui Lun and DAP NGO Affairs Secretary, Sdr. Ronnie Liu, I paid my last respects to Mah last night, and I wrote in Mah’s Visitors’ Book: “Loss of a great Malaysian son”.
Mah would have lived a fit and active life for at least another ten years if he had not been mown down as the latest victim of an escalating crime wave in the country when he tried to single-handedly take on five robbers at his home in Petaling Jaya in the early hours last Friday.
It is tragic that the former top crime-buster should end his life as the latest statistic as a victim of crime.
This was not the way for a former top-crime buster and former CPO to die – making a mockery of his commitment and dedication at the prime of his life to combat crime and make the country safe for all Malaysians.
The clear message of Mah’s tragic and senseless killing is that no one is safe in Malaysia anymore, whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of the home. If a former top crime buster and ex-CPO could killed so senselessly in the privacy of his home, who is safe in Malaysia?
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, who said Mah was his former boss and mentor, has announced that a task force had been formed to hunt down the five assailants believed to be foreigners.
Malaysians want the killers of Mah to be hunted down and brought to justice. But they also want all the criminals responsible for the 604 cases of murder, 2,435 cases of rape, 68 cases of armed gang robbery, 2,658 cases unarmed gang robbery, 247 cases of armed robbery and 18,446 cases of unarmed robbery last year to be hunted down and brought to justice. Will there be a task force each to solve these grave violent crimes?
The Royal Police Commission in its report in May 2005 said that the Royal Malaysian Police had been unsuccessful in projecting a positive image of itself to the people, describing public confidence in the police as “very low”.
It said: “The qualities many in the public and business see in the PDRM are the antithesis of all that PDRM aspires to be. PDRM is generally viewed as inefficient, uncaring, unable to prevent or check crime and corruption to a significant degree. Concerns regarding infringements and abuse of human rights are extensive, and PDRM is not seen as being transparent or accountable to the public.”
Nothing has changed. If anything, public perception and confidence of the police have reached an all-time low.
The Police Royal Commission called for the highest priority to be given to a campaign against crime until crime levels have reached a point considered no longer alarming. It recommended “as an immediate measure, the PDRM should target a minimum of 20 per cent decrease in the number of crimes committed for each category within 12 months of this Report’s acceptance and implementation” – i.e. by May 2006.
Instead of a 20 per cent decrease in the crime index in the first 12 months of the Royal Police Commission Report, there was a 85.8 per cent increase of violent crime in the past three years, from 22,790 cases in 2003 to 42,343 cases in 2006! Last August, the former and longest-serving Inspector-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar who held the top police post for two decades from June 1974 – January 1994, in his Sunday Star column “Point of View” on “Crime and our guality of life”, wrote about what has become commonplace in Malaysia – the prevalent fear about personal safety whether of oneself or one’s loved ones in the streets and public places. He described how he and his family were also afraid of their personal safety in the streets and public places.
Do we need to have another VIP and VVIP death whether in government or police, as a result of being victim of crime, before the police is momentarily stirred into action, only to be quickly forgotten shortly after?
What Malaysians want is a comprehensive plan for an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service committed to reduce crime and make the streets, public places and homes safe again for Malaysians, visitors and investors – as recommended by the Royal Police Commission.
Is the Police and Government prepared to find the political will to ensure that Mah’s death marks the lowest point of police credibility in the battle against crime?
Let Mah not die in vain. Let Mah’s death stir the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Police out of the inertia of the former and the opposition of the latter to establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as the key proposal to create a world-class police service with the triple objectives of reducing crime, root out corruption and respect human rights in Malaysia.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman