Malaysia

‘Not suitable’ to reveal detailed crime stats, says Home Ministry

By Clara Chooi
October 11, 2012

Pua had asked Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to state the reasons why his ministry was yet to disclose a detailed schedule. — File picPua had asked Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to state the reasons why his ministry was yet to disclose a detailed schedule. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Putrajaya has refused a lawmaker’s request to release to Parliament a breakdown of the country’s crime statistics, saying it was “not suitable” to disclose details according to the various crime categories.

In a written reply released today to a question from DAP MP Tony Pua yesterday, the Home Ministry told the lawmaker that it was “more relevant” to reveal details of the country’s index crime cases as it has a more significant impact on public safety.

“For your information, there are hundreds of different categories of crimes recorded under the Royal Malaysian Police’s (RMP) statistics annually, which include both index and non-index crimes.

“Therefore, the ministry is of the view that it is not plausible to present the detailed statistics for each crime category according to the various districts in Selangor and all states,” the ministry said.

Pua had asked Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to state the reasons why his ministry was yet to disclose a detailed schedule on annual crime statistics according to crime categories and districts in Selangor and all states.

“It is more relevant to release the number of index crime cases as they have a more significant impact on public safety.

“The number of index crime cases for Selangor and the country were released to Yang Berhormat through written reply in the first parliamentary meeting this year,” the ministry replied.

Speaking at a press conference here, Pua railed against the ministry for its reply, saying the government was duty bound to release the details to any parliamentarian.

“This is clearly a show of disrespect to the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

“Even if I had asked for the number of cows there are in the country, they should furnish a reply if they have the details.”

The DAP publicity secretary repeated accusations by fellow opposition lawmakers that the government was attempting to paint a false picture of the country’s crime rate, hoping to calm public fears.

“This shows they are hiding something. The government has been claiming that index crime statistics show that the rate has dipped over the past three years... but then again, non-index crime has increased.

“This is what I wanted to prove but I wanted the detailed statistics.”

On August 22, an anonymous letter, purportedly written by a policeman who penned his name as Sumun Osram, had alleged that crime cases were being methodically manipulated into “non-index” offences that were not registered as part of official statistics presented by government efficiency unit PEMANDU.

In Malaysia, the police divide crime into two categories, index and non-index — the former defined as crime, which is reported with sufficient regularity and significance to be meaningful, indicates the crime situation while the latter is regarded as minor in nature. 

Following the letter’s appearance, Pakatan Rakyat leaders had urged the federal government to rebut the allegation regarding the manipulation of crime data.

“The ‘Sumun Osram’ letter alleged that there is a systemic attempt to ‘lower the crime statistics by shifting index crime to non-index crime,” the opposition pact’s secretariat members had said in a recent statement signed by PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar, PAS’s Dr Hatta Ramli and the DAP’s Liew Chin Tong.

“The official crime statistics consist of only index crime,” they said, pointing out Sumun Osram’s allegation that the police would classify crime under the non-index category when police reports were made.

According to the letter, which was made available to The Malaysian Insider, “index crime is defined as crime which is reported with sufficient regularity and with sufficient significance to be meaningful as an index to the crime situation”.

“Non-index crime”, on the other hand, is considered as cases minor in nature and does not occur with such rampancy to warrant its inclusion into the crime statistics or as a benchmark to determine the crime situation.

PEMANDU has had to defend itself in recent months from public criticism after a spate of crime incidents that seem to contradict with the image painted by its crime statistics.

The agency, along with the police and Home Ministry, had continued to stand by its claim that the country’s crime rate has dipped considerably since initiatives under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) were put in place two years ago.

PEMANDU’s crime reduction NKRA (national key results areas) director Eugene Teh had in July released fresh statistics to show that index crime in Malaysia dropped by 10.1 per cent from January to May this year compared to the same period last year.

PEMANDU had earlier released figures to show that index crime had dropped by 11.1 per cent from 2010 to last year while street crime dipped 39.7 per cent in the same period.