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19 June 2007
Tan Sri Musa Bin Dato' Hj. Hassan,
Ketua Polis Negara,
Polis Diraja Malaysia (RMP),
Ibu Pejabat Polis Bukit Aman,
50560 Kuala Lumpur. BY HAND
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri,
DAP express grave concern that the integrity of RMP may be irreparably damaged by its perceived failure to perform its statutory policing duty of assuring Malaysians the four basic rights of security – to live, work, study and play in a safe environment. Equally disturbing is the irresponsible attempt by some police officers to hide behind racial or political rhetoric to cover up their stigma of sheer incompetence, indifference and inability to combat criminals who threaten the lives and property of all Malaysians regardless of race and religion.
Such outrageous remarks, coupled with blaming the Chinese press for giving extensive coverage to crime to cover up the police’s failure to seriously address the alarming crime situation in Johor Baru, has inflamed public sentiment. Unfortunately the “crime situation should not be politicized and racialized” remarks were echoed by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and Johor MCA State Chair Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.
No sane person can understand how police incompetence, indifference and inability to stop crime can be racialized and politicized when the victims and criminals come from all races and religions. If so, then both Abdul Ghani and Chua are blind and deaf when last year in Bandar Baru Uda, a Form 3 student Syafiqah Mohd Borhan was found dead in a drain. In 2001 a 10 year old girl Nurulhuda Ghani died after being raped in Gelang Patah by a Malay man. Not just in Johor, but throughout Malaysia, women have been helpless victims of such attacks.
Only two days ago a married couple Syed Herie Azimi Syed Kassim, 25, and his 24-year-old pregnant wife Aniza Ayob were brutally slashed to death in Seremban. A 25 years old woman Chee Yaik Yap was raped and murdered on 15 January 2006 in Sungai Petani when she had her evening jog with her sister in Cinta Sayang Resort, owned by local MCA strong man. Also in Sungai Petani a 9-year old girl Siti Syaswai was raped and murdered on 21 December 2004 after afternoon religious class. No one was convicted for these heinous crimes.
The public who opposes such irresponsible remarks by the Johor MB and Datuk Dr Chua can punish them for being blind and deaf to their fears and sufferings of victims of crime by exercising their democratic rights. However, no such action is possible against errant police officers. Is this the type of work performance expected by the public after paying RM 8 billion extra a year for the civil servants’ 7.5% to 35% pay rise?
To blame the Chinese press for highlighting crime is wrong and unfair when its Chief Editor Syed Nazri wrote in the New Straits Times on 19 June 2007 that public anger is understandable in the light of police failure to check violent crime. The Star Sunday had two full page articles of Johor Baru being a crime-infested city and police ineffectiveness in crime prevention by chief Star Editor Datuk Wong Chun Wai and former IGP Tan Sri Haniff Omar.
Clearly police officers having this prejudiced mindset against the Chinese press, demonstrates the failure of the police to respect freedom of the press and the right to freedom of information by the public. Such police officers should be removed from the crime prevention unit as it impairs their ability to perform their duties effectively.
DAP supports the additional funds of RM 330 million for 2,000 new personnel and hardware to fight crime, including 500 more mobile patrol units, which will ensure a response time of 15 minutes or less. And the unprecedented attempt by the police to rent 15 shoplots in crime-prone areas in Johor Baru. However this is not enough as long as there is no change in police attitudes towards public complaints and reports of crime.
Three proposals to restore public confidence in the police force
The public has lost confidence in the police to effectively fight criminals and prevent crime. To restore public confidence, three things must be done. As a first step, 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. The IPCMC is required to check police abuses and improve police integrity and performance so that the people in Johor and Malaysia can live, study, work and play in a safe and secure neighbourhood free from crime.
Two, the government must be prepared to set out RM 5 billion 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, Inspector-General of Police(IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hasan should publicly apologise for failing to stop rampant crime in Johor. On 2 June 2007, the IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan announced that Johor’s crime rate has dropped by nearly eight per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year, is far removed from reality. Would the rape and robbery victims believe that?
Women in Johor are living in a state of fear from snatch thefts, robbery and rape. Unfortunately, the police continues to be in a state of denial by blissfully ignoring the alarming crime situation that is deteriorating daily, boasting instead that effective crime prevention has caused a 8% decline in crime rate for the first quarter of the year. These heartless criminals have proven the extent of lawlessness in the state as well as helplessness of the police force in fighting crime.
The assault, robbery and rape has struck fear into the hearts of local residents in Johor as well as investors. What is worse is the complete indifference and irresponsibility of police officers who failed to act when the brother of the male victim sought help from a passing patrol car, who just drove off without any effort to help or save the victims. Such an irresponsible attitude is both unforgivable and unacceptable. DAP demands that the police personnel in the patrol car be immediately sacked for gross dereliction of duty.
The heartbreaking losses and painful sufferings of the victims of crime are real. Many are unable to overcome the emotional trauma years later. This is not a political nor a racial issue but an important human and social problem.
At the same time the abuses of power and corruption within the RMP continues unabated like a cancer. Innocent civilians have been detained under police remand powers under the flimsiest suspicions and have their photographs taken and fingerprinted as happened to Soo Poh Chiew and two others in Alor Gajah police district on 13 April 2007. Soo had lodged a police report in Durian Tunggal Police Station 001539/07 9 April and Melaka Tengah Police station 001270/07 on April 16 against the person who made a false report against him. No action was taken on his complaint.
The arrest of Nyam Kee Han, 24 and See Siew Mun, 27, two members of human rights NGO Suaram who were detained without charges on Sunday night for distributing pamphlets in a demonstration outside the Johor MB’s residence on Sunday is deplorable when they have not committed any crime against society. The police should focus its energies and determination against violent criminals than on civilians seeking a civil society.
Finally corruption has still not being rooted our from police culture, despite the “Saya anti-rasuah” campaign. Even the You-tube have clips of policeman accepting bribes or abusing their powers. Such incidents and your failure to address serious allegations made against you by Raja Petra Kamaruddin in Malaysia Today website perpetuates the negative impression on the integrity, professionalism and effective performance of the police force.
LIM GUAN ENG
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP