Side Views

How to bring back peace and confidence? - Ramon Navaratnam

All Malaysians will warmly welcome Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak's  strong call to "bring  back peace and confidence" to our beloved country.

The public will also greatly appreciate that the Prime Minister has openly  acknowledged that  most Malaysians and  foreign guests have   has  been  steadily   losing  confidence in  the national will  and  capacity to effectively tackle crime and especially gun related crimes of  murder and  robbery.

Now our society  will want  to know  how  long  it will take before  their confidence  and peace a can be  restored?  Will the Government, the Police and civil society really  move  fast forward or will complacency seep into the  system, soon some time after the  terrible  killings of my dear friend Hussain Najadi and others, has passed?

If we delay tough action against serious crime and crime in general, the public will  lose  even more peace and confidence. Worse still, we will lose faith in our system and hope in our future prospects and aspirations for Developed  Country status  by  2020, just  7 years away.

How then can we bring back peace and confidence as soon as possible?

Firstly, the high powered Task Force that has  been rightly appointed under the chairmanship of YB Dato Seri Idris Jala to draft New Laws  for the next  sitting of Parliament in September, has  to consult  all sectors  of  our society  and especially  the  Police  who are unfortunately sometimes  not  adequately  consulted. The  Task Force  could have Laboratories like the many successful ones held by Pemandu before, to ascertain  the views  of all stake holders, before finalising the new policies  and laws. After all we are all deeply interested  in peace and stability.

2. Government  should  be  bold  in introducing tough laws  that  can really  be  effective and ensure  there are  no loopholes for criminals  to escape the rule of law.

3. Ensure the critical balance between providing the basic need  for Safety and Security   for our society, with the legitimate public concerns, to prevent  any Human Rights abuses. But priority should  be given to the  Human Right of the "Freedom  from Fear", for the  28 million Malaysians  , in  preference over the  2000 hard core  criminals  released after the repeal of the  Emergency Ordinance.  

4. Provide the Police and related enforcement Agencies with adequate financial and   material resources. I am disappointed when I hear reliable stories of  the  lack of  legal and financial  support  for  the Police and  other  agencies, to fight  crime and especially  the big time crime mobsters and  syndicated crime.  There are stories of  police  cars  that cannot  operate for lack of  petrol and spare parts.  The Police also are unable to use  their guns when  they  run  short of funds for ammunition.

5. Increase the manpower  of  the Police Force  and related agencies. The  new Minister  of  Home Affairs  Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has now  revealed  transparently  that  the  Police Force  is  grossly  understaffed. Why  is  this  so? Why this long  neglect ?No wonder  we  are  having  high and rising  serious crime rates?  The Police  to Citizen ratio in Malaysia  is  1: 700 as compared to 1:35 in  New York. It may be difficult to compare the whole of  Malaysia  to New York City, but the  lack of adequate police  manpower resources  shows up. True we can ask for  some re-organisation  of  police  manpower, but this would be a short term measure. We need structural improvements for a bad crime and worsening situation, not  tinkering with  the  system.  

Finally, we need much  stronger  Police Public Partnership (PPP). There is no point in  being unduly  critical of the Police. We have to  regard the Police  more and more as  our Protectors and  not  indulge in  any  Police Bashing! No doubt there have been many cases of  Police Abuse, but  where  is  there no abuse at all in every aspect of ours  or  any other society.  We have to seek to wipe out abuses .

The challenge then  is for us all to work closely  together - the Government, the loyal Opposition, Civil Society and the general public as United Malaysians to protect ourselves and our   nation from  all kinds of  Crime, especially  the critical crimes.

Now, lets   go all out,  to support  the Prime Minister's call for new effective laws  and to  give the Police  tougher laws , better and more financial and manpower  resources and  certainly more  goodwill and genuine partnership and cooperation!

Then we will be able to "bring back Peace and Confidence!" - July 31, 2013

* Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is a retired senior civil servant and a former commissioner with the Malaysian Human Rights Commission.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Comments