Hishammuddin’s recent announcement to make crime-busting “top priority” debunked by his four-day thunderous silence on allegation of fake crime statistics

Some ten days ago, the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein made the shocking admission that the focus on crime-busting was “not seen as a need” for the government, until only recently.

He then claimed that the government has “now got the political will right to the top” to fight crime.

This is an admission of a gross dereliction of duty by Hishammuddin as Home Minister.

I need only cite three reasons to back up such a harsh judgment.

Firstly, as far back as seven years ago in May 2005, the Dzaiddin Royal Police Commission report expressed alarm at the “high incidence of crime”, when it noted:

The incidence of crime increased dramatically in the last few years, from 121,176 cases in 1997 to 156,465 cases in 2004, an increase of 29 per cent. The increase seriously dented Malaysia’s reputation as a safe country. Malaysians in general, the business sector and foreign investors grew increasingly concerned with the situation. The fear was that, if the trend continues, there would be major social and economic consequences for Malaysia. A survey of 575 respondents from the public carried out by the Commission clearly demonstrates the extremely widespread concern among all ethnic groups and foreign residents. Between 82.2 per cent and 90 per cent of the respondents, or 8 to 9 persons in every 10, were concerned with the occurrence of crime.

Secondly, on his appointment as Home Minister in 2009, the Home Ministry conducted an online opinion survey on its website from 20th to 28th July 2009, and found a worsening in public confidence in the crime situation in the country with public worry about the lack of safety from crime and their fear of crime increased from 89% in 2004 (poll conducted by Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission) to 97% – while the number of respondents who felt safe from crime fell sharply from one in ten in 2004 to one in 100 in 2009!

The following were the findings of the Home Ministry website poll in 2009:

  • 97% or 9,729 out of 10,060 respondents felt unsafe because of the high crime rate, with only 1% or 89 respondents felt safe and 2% or 242 respondents in the “uncertain” category.
  • 95% or 8,883 out of 9,319 respondents felt that the safety of the people was not guaranteed as compared to 3% or 248 respondents who felt it was still guaranteed, with 2% or 188 respondents in the “uncertain” category.
  • 94% or 8,743 out of 9,261 respondents felt that government had not done its best to ensure that the safety of the people was at the best level with 2% or 185 respondents felt that the government had done its best, and 4% or 333 persons “uncertain”?

Thirdly, on 9th June this year, after the bloody mugging of Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat while jogging near his home in Section 18, Petaling Jaya and the gruesome abduction attack of Bandar Kinrara, Puchong teacher Teoh Soo Kim, 51, which were evidence of the failure of the Najib government to reduce crime and to eradicate the fear of crime among Malaysians, I had said in a media statement:

“It is no use the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the CEO of Pemandu and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Idris Jala boasting about Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and National Key Result Areas (NKRA) successes, such as claiming that the overall crime index for 2011 had dropped by 11.1%, while street crime decreased significantly by 39.7% compared with 35% in 2010 – and a marked improvement from the 15% reduction in street crime set under the NKRA in 2010 – when Malaysians still do not feel safe from the fear of crime whether in the privacy of their homes, or outside in the streets and public places”.

With these three incidents in the background, for Hishammuddin to confess some 10 days ago that crime-busting was “not seen as a need” and to declare that “for the first time since Merdeka, crime-busting is a priority”, it is not only the height of irresponsibility and dereliction of duty on his part as Home Minister in the past three years, it has become one of the most infamous instances debunking the 55th Merdeka Day theme of “Janji Ditepati”.

But apparently, there is worse to come – the very serious allegation four days ago by a Police Officer of 30 years’ service about manipulation and doctoring of crime statistics to give the false picture of drastic fall in crime rate when this is not the case, giving a very credible account of how this doctoring of crime statistics is done to mislead Malaysians about GTP and NKRA successes in combatting crime.

Although the “whistleblower” police officer has given a very credible account of the doctoring of crime statistics, Malaysians have withheld final judgment awaiting clarification from Hishammuddin as the Home Minister and the GTP/NKRA Ministers Datuk Sri Idris Jala and Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon.

In continuing his thunderous four-day silence on the serious “whistleblower” allegation of fake crime statistics, Hishammuddin is in fact debunking his recent announcement to make crime-busting the government “top priority”.

Even more serious, the continued thunderous silence of Hishammuddin, Idris and Koh on the serious allegations of fake crime statistics for the GTP and NKRA exercises will give the 55th Merdeka Day theme of “Janji Ditepati” special though unwanted connotations.

For these reasons, Hishammuddin, Idris and Koh cannot continue their deafening silence about the serious allegations of fake crime statistics.

If these three Ministers are not prepared to break their silence, let a special Cabinet meeting be convened before Merdeka Day to delve into the serious allegations of doctored crime statistics and let the truth be told to the Malaysian public before Merdeka Day celebrations.

If what the “whistleblower” police officer alleged about the manipulation of crime statistics are true, the Police must be given the authority to release the correct and comparable crime statistics as compared with the past years to restore public confidence in the independence, integrity and professionalism of the police force.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur