KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — A citizen group wants to offer suggestions to and work with the government instead of merely complaining about the crime rate in Malaysia, as the public becomes increasingly concerned about their safety.
Calling themselves “Safer Malaysia”, the month-old group said today it also wants the government to disclose a detailed breakdown of crime statistics.
“We want the Home Ministry to not deny it (crime) is happening,” said Richard Wee, a spokesman for Safer Malaysia, at the group’s first gathering in Damansara Utama, which saw a turnout of around 15 people.
“If crime is going down, why don’t you just release the figures to us?” said Yip Huen Weng, who is also a spokesman for the fledgling movement.
He said this in reference to PEMANDU, the government’s efficiency unit, which has also been tasked with helping to reduce the country’s crime rate.
“The government keeps focusing on ‘perception’ and ‘impression’, but at the end of the day, do Malaysians feel safe?”
Yip added that they are doing a study on how “statistics can be manipulated” and how the government could “shift the goalposts” to show that the crime rate has gone down.
Safer Malaysia say they are still drafting a memorandum containing suggestions on ways to combat crime, which they will present to the government, in the hope that this will lead to a dialogue.
The group stressed that they are non-political and said they plan to hold a candlelight vigil on August 1 at Bandar Utama Central Park.
Safer Malaysia, which wants to be “an initiative to push for reforms” and make law enforcement more effective, currently has 318 “likes” on its Facebook page.
Another non-political group, “Malaysians Against Rape, Assault and Snatch” (MARAH), which also campaigns for public safety, recently started an online petition with a target of 100,000 signatures.
The police, PEMANDU and the Home Ministry have stuck to statistics that indicate that Malaysia’s crime rate has dropped since initiatives under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) were put in place two years ago.
After a series of incidents at shopping mall car parks, Malaysians, especially women, appear to have grown more cautious when out on the streets.
The country’s expatriate community had also said they were increasingly fearful for their safety here, especially after the kidnapping of 12-year-old Dutch schoolboy Nayati Moodliar, who was snatched while walking to school earlier this year, hit global headlines.
Other cases which made headlines in recent weeks include thieves making off with RM1.17 million from several automated teller machines at a hypermarket in Wangsa Maju; millions of ringgit worth of high-tech medical equipment being stolen from several hospitals in the Klang Valley; a carjacking and kidnapping of a Singaporean family in Johor; and a Malacca clerk who died after she fell off her motorbike following an attack by two men.