Call on Najib to put his War on Crime as top Cabinet agenda on Wednesday

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak declared a “War against Crime” when he launched Pemandu’s United Against Crime Day at the KLCC Park in Kuala Lumpur the previous Saturday on 8th June, but it has turned into a nightmarish week for Malaysians with criminals going on a rampage including the new-fangled mass armed robbery of owners and customers of restaurants and eateries.

The headlines given by the BN-owned/controlled media, like “Criminals beware: Its War” and “All-out fight against crime” (Sunday Star 9.6.2013) turned into ashes when it was the criminals who declared war last weekend starting with a group of about 10 parang-wielding men in crash helmets who held up the owner and several customers who were having early-morning supper at Simmei Seafood and Steamboat restaurant at Taman Taynton View in Cheras and got away with RM20,000 in cash and valuables.

This new criminal phenomenon has been repeated in the past week with similar crimes of mass armed gang robberies of customers and owners at open restaurants and eateries in Kepong, Cheras, Kajang and Petaling Jaya, transmitting a new fear of crime throughout the country that it is not safe in Malaysia to be eating out at restaurants and eateries!

The following comment last night on my blog in response to my statement “Police should not be super-efficient to arrest peaceful Malaysians, including women and child while utterly helpless at worsening crime situation with new fear among Malaysians – not safe eating out in restaurants and public eateries” reflected both the severity and gravity of this scourge:

“The crime situation in the country seems to have worsened markedly after the recent GE and has now reached alarming levels.

“I think the police have got their priorities wrong by paying too much attention on peaceful gatherings by the Opposition and others.

“In today’s Sin Chew Daily, just on the national news alone (excluding the regional news), there were a total of 8 cases of serious crimes being reported, including (i) two robbers entered a school compound in Ipoh in broad daylight to rob a teacher; (ii) in Kuala Kurau, Perak, four armed robbers attempted to rob some villagers, a villager was shot and seriously wounded; (iii) in Senai, Johor, 5 men impersonating as tree cutters robbed a house of RM10,000 in valuables; (iv) in Kota Tinggi, Johor, 4 armed robbers robbed a goldsmith shop of RM1 million worth in jewellery; (v) 2 men masquerading as guests robbed a budget hotel in Batang Kali, Selangor; (vi) in Kuantan, 5 thieves first stole a lorry, then attempted but unsuccessfully to cart away BSN’s ATM machine using the stolen lorry; (vii) 8 parang wielding robbers robbed 3 diners of RM5,100 in valuables at Jalan Lapangan Terbang Lama; (viii) in Petaling Jaya, 2 robbers attempted to rob a car accessory shop, a worker was shot.

“Well, the Star only has two pieces of robbery news today. If you read the Star, you would think that everything is quiet on the Western Front.

“By the way, my brother-in-law also had his gold necklace snatched away by a lone robber early this morning. Just last night, we were discussing the sudden hike in crime lately.”

Actually, the commentator who goes by the pseudonym of “tuahpekkong” had missed another Sin Chew report (P.2) yesterday which reported that at least 10 DJs of a local television channel had been robbed.

Why did Najib launch a “war against crime” four years after his Government Transformation Programme (GTP) which had the reduction of crime as one of its top NKRAs, especially after the government’s claim of success that it has reduced the country’s crime index by 26.8% since the first phase of the GTP in 2009?

The reason is very simple – the growing gulf between the police’s claim of success to reduce the crime index and the people’s perception and fear of crime, arising not only from their direct and indirect experiences with rampant crime but the government’s inability to instill public confidence that the police can protect the safety and security of citizens, tourists and investors.

What the country needs today is a new Home Minister and a new Inspector-General of Police whose sole pre-occupation is how to wage and win the War against Crime, make Malaysia safe for its citizens, tourists and investors as well as also eliminate the fear of crime haunting and hounding Malaysians for over a decade.

Instead, we have a new Home Minister and a new IGP who have made clear from their public postures that their topmost priority is not the War against Crime but a War against Pakatan Rakyat leaders and social activists to serve the UMNO/Barisan Nasional agenda to use the police to protect the regime instead of protecting the life, limb and property of ordinary Malaysians!

The government and the police establishment have clearly lost their way to discharge their most fundamental duty as a government, which is to keep the citizenry safe from crime, when they commissioned an international consultant Frost and Sullivan to conduct a study on the level of public satisfaction regarding the effectiveness of police service and their sense of security in the country.

A government and a police leadership which needs consultants, whether national or international, to report on how to carry out its fundamental duty to protect the lives and property of its citizens, tourists and investors, is just not fit and qualified to hold their high offices.

I call on Najib to put his War on Crime as top Cabinet agenda on Wednesday to ensure that the police are not totally helpless in the new rampage by criminals, including the new-fangled mass armed robbery of owners/customers of restaurants and eateries.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah