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.