Hishammuddin admits need to calm public fears about crime
KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today the public’s “perception” of security is more important than the actual crime rate as he attempted to calm growing public scepticism about the government’s persistent claims that incidents of crime had fallen.
“For me, what is most important is not so much even the index; the perception, the feeling of the public is all important,” said the home minister in a press conference.
He was asked to comment on whether the government’s crime statistics reflect the actual situation on the ground.
PEMANDU, Putrajaya’s efficiency unit tasked with helping the police reduce crime under its Government Transformation Programme (GTP), has staunchly defended statistics showing street crime has fallen by 40 per cent in the past two years despite a recent spate of high-profile kidnappings and assaults.
But PEMANDU and the government have come under attack from the public and opposition politicians for treating the issue as a perception problem.
Last week, former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan joined the debate by accusing the authorities of hiding facts from the public over the country’s crime rate, claiming that public security has now reached a “worrying stage”.
Today, Hishammuddin said that all of the police’s measures “will have to be taken in account when addressing the fears of the public, which I do hear.”
“And I am not in denial, and this is something that has to be addressed, which is why I am here today,” he added, referring to his walkabout in the Pavilion shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur.
He said the government has “achieved a lot” through the GTP and “the emphasis on crime.”
“But if it has not achieved the expected reduction in the feeling of fear by the public, then more needs to be done and we will do it.”
His statement comes after the government was recently criticised for viewing the public’s concerns over safety as a “perception” problem.