Tackle crime, stop piecemeal stats, Pua tells Putrajaya
KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — DAP lawmaker Tony Pua today demanded the government “get its act together” and take immediate steps to tackle the rising crime in the country instead of insisting that its statistics prove otherwise.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP also cast doubt on the Home Ministry’s alleged refusal to provide detailed crime statistics even at the request of parliamentarians, saying this “smacks of cover up and manipulation”.
“Given the complete lack of transparency as well as the sheer lack of consistency in the state of crime in the country, it is not a surprise that the Malaysian public do not trust the authorities.
“What makes it worse is the government’s refusal to acknowledge the fears the men and women on the street face when they are in or out of their houses,” he said in a statement here.
Pemandu, the government’s efficiency unit, and the Home Ministry have claimed that crime dropped by 11 per cent last year, with street crime diving 40 per cent since the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) was put in place two years ago
The announcements were, however, backdropped by a recent spate of high-profile kidnappings and assaults.
These cases in the Klang Valley, one of which had left a teacher fighting for her life, have led to questions over Pemandu’s insistence that the country’s crime rate has dropped.
But the authorities have stuck to the statistics and Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who is Pemandu chief executive, recently called on the media to play its role in fighting crime and help arrest the “doom and gloom” by reporting on solved cases and not sensationalising crime by repeatedly reporting the same news.
“They should work closely with the police on communicating the cases that they have successfully solved. Sometimes, we need to arrest the doom and gloom by also focusing on the positives.
“If the statistics are not convincing, perhaps then we should try to dwell into how the police were able to bring the crime rates down in a specific area, for example, one of the hotspots,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Similarly, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein previously said that the recent cases of violent crime were “isolated”.
He reportedly told the media that “blowing a few cases out of proportion would create a perception that Malaysia was unsafe country, when official data showed otherwise”.
But Selangor’s deputy police chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan appeared on Saturday to acknowledge a spike in crime in the state when he suggested that the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance (EO) may have caused the surge, saying that a number of released suspects may have returned to their past habits instead of reforming.
Last September, the federal government repealed the controversial EO, a security law introduced after the 1969 race riots that allowed the authorities to detain a person without trial for up to two years, similar to the much-criticised Internal Security Act (ISA).
It was usually used on hardcore gangsters but had also been used on underage children who were held in the same detention facilities for adults.
“But we see there is a rise in crime (recently) because they’ve been in (detention) for too long, they need ‘exercise’, so they come out and immediately they carry out their activities,” Thaiveegan, was reported as saying by news portal Malaysiakini.
He was earlier reported saying the government has released the EO detainees for a second chance, but were now not certain if they had returned “to the right path”.
Pua said Thaiveegan’s statement, along with those of Jala’s and Hishammuddin’s, prove that the government has been providing “contradictory and piecemeal” statistics on crime incidence in the country.
“While federal ministers had placed the blame on media and perception, the Selangor police’s blame in the repeal of the EO is even more comical,” he said.
Thaiveegan, said Pua, had effectively admitted that the police lacked the competence to solve criminal cases and had to throw every suspect into detention without trial in order to cut down crime.
“We call upon the government to get its act together,” he said.
“The respective authorities must hence stop the denial syndrome and start taking concrete measures to tackle the rising spate of crime, especially in Selangor,” he added.