Selangor MP raises doubts about shifting crime statistics
KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — Constantly revised crime statistics have led to further doubts over Putrajaya’s claims that its Government Transformation Programme (GTP) has successfully reduced crime since 2010.
A Selangor federal lawmaker’s repeated requests to the Home Ministry for crime statistics in the past two years have yielded at least three different figures for his home state.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua (picture) had said on Tuesday that a written reply, delayed by three months from the March parliamentary session, showed total crime in Selangor was 56,689 cases in 2009.
But crime in Selangor has risen by nearly 12 per cent from 2010 to 2011 or from 39,691 to 44,302 cases, leading him to question the GTP which singles out Malaysia’s richest state as a key target under the crime reduction National Key Result Area (NKRA).
The Home Ministry then issued a statement last night saying the correct figures were 54,994 cases in 2009, 49,469 cases in 2010 and 44,302 cases in 2011.
But Pua told a press conference today that a reply to his parliamentary question on June 15, 2010 yielded a figure of 54,443 cases of total crime in Selangor.
“Can we trust these figures or are they adapted as and when to suit their purposes? We used to get statistics with a breakdown of categories of crime and by state but since the NKRA was launched in 2010, no more.
“If they are so proud of their achievements, they should publish all the figures as the public has the right to know and not cherry-pick those that look good,” the DAP publicity chief said.
He also pointed out that although the Home Ministry cited “typographical errors” as the reason for its correction, “the figures for violent and property crimes add up, so it is a ‘very good’ typo.”
Pua added that even though the Home Ministry said the correction was issued on Monday and was not related to his Tuesday statements on rising crime, he had yet to receive any document from the ministry and questioned why it took it three months to realise its error.
“Whether or not the figures are up or down, when you look at the amount of crime in Selangor, it is serious and the government should take it seriously,” he said of the state which records the highest level of crime in Malaysia.
According to the written reply Pua cited on Tuesday, violent crime in Selangor, which has recently sparked fears over public safety in the Klang Valley after a spate of assaults and kidnappings, dropped from 12,435 in 2009 to 7,853 in 2010 before spiking to 8,141 last year.
Pua had pointed out that this was despite “many major cities in the Klang Valley being turned into ‘war zones’ with barricades, security checkpoints and boom-gates” set up by private residents at their own expense.”
“Despite this, crime is still going up, accentuating the lack of policing on crime and the failure of the NKRA which specifically targets Selangor for crime reduction,” he told The Malaysian Insider later.
Pua also called for the Home Ministry and PEMANDU, the federal government’s efficiency unit that runs the GTP, to “stop blaming crime on ‘perception’.”
PEMANDU insisted last week that the crime rate has been drastically reduced, pointing instead to “unfortunate” media coverage as the cause for heightened concerns over public safety.
Several high-profile kidnappings and two assaults in the Klang Valley, one leaving a teacher fighting for her life, have led the opposition to question Putrajaya’s efficiency unit’s claim that crime dropped by 11.1 per cent last year with street crime falling by 39.7 per cent in the last two years.
“If you divide by 365 days in a year, you have an average of 430 stories a day. You can more than fill the entire newspaper with crime,” PEMANDU chief executive Datuk Seri Idris Jala had said, referring to the 157,891 reports of crime last year.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said it was “unfortunate” that the media had reported the crime rate has increased when in 2009 there were 209,825 reports.
“I wish this (the reduction) was the story (in the media). When people tell me about a crime, I say I can tell them there are another 157,000 crimes. The point is it has reduced, but not to zero,” the senator added.
Idris also said in April the reduction was achieved by redeploying 21,600 policemen to police crime hotspots in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang while Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has said in 2010 that 7,402 desk-bound policemen were sent out to the field.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak said early last week that more must be done to increase public safety, two days after Hishammuddin insisted that two recent violent incidents were not indicative of a rising crime rate.
The prime minister gave his assurance that the government was concerned with “all kinds of violence, including against women”, despite saying that the country’s general crime rate has dipped considerably.
But Hishammuddin had earlier insisted that the country’s crime rate is not on the rise despite growing concern over public safety, saying that two recent violent crime cases were “isolated” incidents.
“The numbers have not increased from the past. One or two cases... you show me one country where there is no kidnapping.
“Don’t exploit [the incidents] to make this something political,” he had told reporters, referring to the assault and mugging of Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat.
Wong was left bloodied after being attacked while jogging in Petaling Jaya, while teacher Teoh Soo Kim, 51, was left fighting for her life after suffering severe head injuries during her abduction, both incidents happening within days of each other.
Besides the two bloody attacks a fortnight ago, a spate of kidnap attempts has raised concern over public safety.
A 12-year-old in Ipoh and a 20-something in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya narrowly escaped abduction in the past fortnight, episodes that followed after the high-profile ransom case of 12-year-old Dutch national Nayati Moodliar, which gained international media coverage.