AUG 27 — The recent article by Anonymous Policeman that claimed crime statistics are being massaged listed serious allegations about police conduct, and clearly raised questions about the veracity of the crime statistics itself. PEMANDU has repeatedly said that it depends on the police to present the data for reporting and that the data from the police were never massaged by PEMANDU.
However, if what is claimed by the article is true, then there are serious questions that need to be asked: is the police force under undue political pressure to perform their duties and therefore dispensed with their charter of being “Mesra, Cepat dan Betul” (friendly, fast and correct)? And, most importantly, keeping our eyes on the real goal of all this, how to deal with the situation?
First and foremost, in order to manage any situation properly, PEMANDU and the police must work with real data to size up the problem properly and to deal with the problem in the most appropriate manner.
If data has been massaged for whatever reason, the real depth and scale of the problem would be unknown, and resources may be misdirected accordingly due to the false data. So, data integrity is, needless to say but still important to remember, of the utmost importance.
Secondly, let’s address the issue of political pressure. The Government Transformation Programme is ambitious. It was formulated with the specific intent of dealing with the worst problems that the Malaysian public is most concerned about. Crime, corruption, education, urban public transportation and so on are all, by definition, high priority, urgent and biggest problems that are facing the nation.
So, yes, of course there is political pressure.
Crime and all the other NKRAs are never meant to be feel-good projects, low-intensity issues and of lukewarm concern. Everyone in PEMANDU and the specific ministries involved are all under high pressure to delivery big results, fast, to the Malaysian people.
The question is then: is our police ill-equipped to deal with such pressure that they have now succumbed to fudging the numbers just to please their bosses? Do they not stand by their motto of “Mesra, Cepat and Betul”, especially the “Betul” part, just because their shoulders carry the heavy burden of preventing and reducing crime in the country?
This may sound like finger-pointing, but the fact is, PEMANDU, the various ministries, the police and the Malaysian people are all in this together. No amount of finger pointing will absolve anyone of the failure to address the issue of crime in the country.
We all carry the heavy burden and responsibility of transforming our government and our country. If the police, or any government department for that matter, are ill-equipped, even if psychologically, to deal with the high demands of the NKRAs and deliver the results we want for our nation, what should we do?
Fudging the data to achieve the targets is certainly not the answer. Pointing fingers and apportioning blame is also not constructive.
We as a nation need to look inwards and ask ourselves: what will it take and do we have what it takes to achieve our national goals? Do we have the honesty to admit where we are wrong (amidst the things that we’re doing right), that we have weaknesses (amidst our strengths) and that we have the courage to do the right thing no matter how difficult the situation, and correct ourselves when we make mistakes?
The top leadership of the country is facing the reality of our nation that not all is right with our country: hence the Government Transformation Programme and all its NKRAs. That is a big step. It could all easily have been “business as usual”, plodding along with “average results, in its own time” instead of big results, fast.
PEMANDU’s task is monumental — and with the monumental task comes the monumental pressure — to work with all relevant ministries and government departments, and members of the public, to deliver the results that the nation wants.
(Don’t forget, the NKRAs were conceived with inputs from all levels of society, experts as well as concerned citizens in multiple labs.)
Of course the targets are stretched. They HAVE to be. Of course there is political pressure, because an entire nation wants results. Of course the targets are not easy — they were never meant to be a walk in the park.
The challenge is to deliver those targets in all earnestness, putting in our best efforts and pushing ourselves forward each and every difficult step of the way.
Fudging the numbers or making it easier for ourselves is not the way forward.
Whether the allegations are true, they have to be investigated to ascertain the extent and impact. PDRM would have to get to the bottom of it. If they are true, how would PEMANDU move forward? PEMANDU would have to re-evaluate their plans. If they are not true, then the burden is on PDRM to show how the numbers could not have been fudged in the manners that were described by Anonymous Policeman.
But regardless of the outcome of the investigations into the allegations, our national goals will not and should not change. We must reduce crime rates in the country. Those targets should not be reduced for expediency. PEMANDU and all involved must still deliver big results, fast.
Yes, the stakes are high, and high stakes come with high pressure.
Perhaps the police require more resources than what they have now. Perhaps the police force need extra support in dealing with corporate-style target-setting, frequent reporting and transparency that their work is subjected to now. Perhaps our crimes rates are indeed so high that they cannot be reduced sufficiently to meet our targets within the time frame that we have set for ourselves. These are all good questions that will come up again and again, not just in the Crime NKRA but in all the different NKRAs.
But above all, we must report the truth and we must work with our reality.
This is our country, our reality. We have to be honest with ourselves. Let’s not fudge that fact.
* Mooreyameen Mohamad reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.