Remove people’s fear — Lim Sue Goan
12 JUNE — The government has a responsibility to grant the people freedom without fear. In addition to political and speech freedom, it should also include personal freedom which is free of criminal threats.
People are unable to sleep well and fear to go out. We can no longer call it a country with good law and order when members of the public are living in fear.
Serious crimes have taken place in Selangor and other states over the past two weeks, including a special education teacher was abducted and a young woman was almost abducted by two men at a basement car park of a shopping mall. Therefore, they should not be considered as random cases or a matter of impression, but that law and order has deteriorated instead.
Personally, I believe that there are a few factors causing the surge in crime.
Firstly, the increase in social complexity. Putting aside distorted values, the decline in moral standards and the failure of education, we are no longer living in an agricultural society as we did in the 1960s and 1970s.
Nowadays, we can see foreign workers and foreigners everywhere. We can also find many prostitution and gambling dens, online gambling operators, as well as illegal gaming centres in the country. Drug abuse problem has not been solved after more than 30 years and together with mobsters derived from Mat Rempit as well as human traffickers, drug mules and swindlers controlled by international crime syndicates, society has turned complex, and even the modus operandi has become increasingly brutal.
Secondly, the shortage of policemen. The country has a total of 122,000 policemen and after taking out administrative police officers, the number is too small to cope with the rapid growth in residential areas and shopping malls.
According to the provisions of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), the standard proportion of police to population should be 1:250, but it is 1:270 in Malaysia. The gap would be greater if millions of foreign workers and overstaying foreigners are counted.
The Cabinet agreed to step up patrols near school areas after Dutch boy Nayati Shamelin Moodliar was abducted while walking to school. However, if more policemen are stationed in school areas, would it mean that other places like residential areas, streets, shopping malls and parks will therefore be neglected?
There are more and more shopping malls in Klang Valley, attracting streams of people to business and bank outlets. However, after a crime has taken place, shopping mall operators will only strengthen the security of the parking lot, and have no way to improve the law and order of the surroundings.
It is a weak point in security as robbers could easily find targets in shopping malls.
Thirdly, the strategy is not comprehensive. When the government set the National Key Result Areas (NKRA), it identified 50 crime hot spots. The police then increased patrols and launched the Operasi Payung (Umbrella Operation). As a result, the crime rates in these areas dropped.
The police also achieved publicity effects when it launched the High-Profile Policing Programme.
However, these actions are unable to contain crimes as the police did not mobilise community forces. Community-based organisations understand the problems of their areas and they are able to make up for the shortage of policemen. The police would find it difficult to achieve the desired results of its efforts without the assistance of community networks.
It might take a few years to solve social problems. Therefore, the most direct and rapid way would be to improve the police force and strategies. The police should gather all forces, including allowing Selangor to set up an Auxiliary Police Force (APF) and expanding the patrol areas of the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela).
Instead of blaming the media, it would be better to put words into actions and restore a safe living space for the people. — mysinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.