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Call on Abdullah to announce the establishment of the IPCMC in his budget speech on Sept. 1 which will also have a positive effect in improving the investment and tourism climate in the country
(Parliament, Monday) : My third example is the parliamentary answer to my question on the first day on the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) which was replied by the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Mohd Johari bin Bahrom, who did not say a single thing which was new.
He even gave the glib reply that Kuala Lumpur is safe for anyone at three or four in the morning, thanks to 255 CCTVs – and these are traffic CCTVs at road junctions.
One can be excused for thinking that Johari and the Police thought they had found a new way to fight crime – through CCTVs. If CCTVs by themselves can fight crime, then there will be no crime in the rich developed countries in the world!
But Malaysians are not impressed – and this includes the former Inspector-General of Police who was also Deputy Chairman of the Royal Police Commission, Tun Hanif Omar, who had to arm himself with a shot gun to protect himself when he drives out from his house in Kuala Lumpur.
CCTVs are no substitutes for effective and visible policing to fight crime. At most they are only aids, subject to many weaknesses, such as maintenance and the development of a CCTV-minded criminal class.
It appears from the recent escalation of traumatic crimes, the police are quite helpless and unable to perform their most basic of functions – which is to assure citizens of their personal safety and protect them from crime and the fear of crime.
In the past four weeks, Malaysians have been battered with one report after another of the senseless killings from traumatic crimes, whether 18-year-old Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) College student Lee Kean Yip from Ipoh, murdered in a snatch theft incident in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur; make-up artist Indra Shahril Mohd Salleh murdered in his shop in Johore Baru; pump attendant, Chai Joon Boi, 54, robbed and murdered in his house in Serian, Sarawak; 25-year-old sales girl Ng Chew Lim who sustained fatal internal head injuries when she fell down the staircase in a scuffle with a drug addict at the Berjaya Megamall shopping centre in Kuantan.
Now, an administrative clerk Goh Poh Yee, 24, in Johore Baru is fighting for a normal life as she is paralysed from the waist down after two men tried to snatch her bag on Monday, suffering spinal and other injuries.
Yesterday, the Johore Baru Police revealed that Johore baru had only 1,018 policemen for a population of 1.8 million, including tourists and foreign workers, i.e. one police officer to 1,800 people. This is a far cry from the national ratio of one police officer to 266 people and is there totally unacceptable.
Immediate action and the topmost priority must be taken to multiply the police personnel for Johore Baru to wipe out its notoriety as the capital of crime for the country.
The police and even Deputy Internal Security Ministers tend to come fown hard on the media for their reporting on crime, instead of curbing down on crime, as if the government can ignore rampant unchecked crime so long as it is not reported in the media.
Such irresponsible mentality must be condemned. True, a situation where crime is rife and rampant is not only threat to the safety and security of Malaysian citizens, it would drive away investors, tourists and foreign students. But it is naïve to address the problem by curbing media reports on crime, for in the era of information communications technology of instant news, there is no way to hide such a breakdown of law and order particularly in the “black areas” in the country.
What is the use of talking about Vision 2020 becoming a fully developed nation when life has become very cheap in Malaysia, with traumatic crimes a common occurrence and the fear of crime and their personal safety and their love ones, whether in the streets, public places or their homes, a haunting and abiding nightmare?
How can the government expect to succeed in making Malaysia an investment centre, a tourist haven or an international hub of academic excellence to attract foreign students when the government is incapable performing its most fundamental duty – to ensure the personal safety and security of its citizens and visitors?
It would appear that the Royal Police Commission had been a total waste of time and resources as far as its major objectives are concerned – to reduce the high incidence of crime, corruption and general public dissatisfaction with police conduct and performance.
There is a request for RM237.5 million for police emoluments in the supplementary estimates before the House. A month after the Royal Police Commission Report, the government announced RM2.5 billion allocation for better housing and working environment for the police. In the 2006 budget announced last September, the Finance Minister announced increased monthly incentive payments for the police, increasing from RM375 to RM600 for those who have served between 1 to 10 years, RM750 between 11 to 15 years and RM900 for those exceeding 16 years. This represents an increase in payments of between 60 per cent to 140 per cent.
The 2006 Budget also provided a sum of RM107 million for salary adjustments for the police.
Malaysians do not begrudge these improvements in the salaries, allowances and conditions of service of our police personnel, which have been recommended by the Royal Police Commission.
More than 15 months have passed since the submission of the report of the Royal Commission to create a clean, efficient, professional and world-class police service, but it would appear that its very raison de’tre of the Royal Police Commission– to reduce crime and corruption and raise police standards and performance – had been sidelined.
At the end of 2004, the Royal Police Commission commissioned a survey of public opinion of some 600 people, covering all racial groups – 44 per cent Malays, 33 per cent Chinese, 14 per cent Indians. 5 per cent Other Bumiputras and 4% Others.
It found the following: (i) that 17.6 per cent had been victim of crime; (ii) that only 75.3% of those who had been victims of crime had reported to the police; and (iii) that 89 per cent were “worried” to “extremely worried” about the occurrence of crime in their neighbourhood.
At a public forum to fight crime in Ipoh last month, I had conducted a quick poll of these three questions to get a “feel” of the present situation. Out of the over 200 people present, over 70 per cent had been a victim of crime or had a member of the family who had been a victim of crime, more than 50 per cent did not lodge report while almost 100% of the people are worried about crime in their neighbourhood.
This is a fair reflection of public opinion, furnishing a serious indicator that the whole crime and law-and-order situation has got worse instead of better despite the Royal Police Commission and its 125 recommendations.
As the Royal Police Commission admitted right from the very beginning of its report, it was established “amidst widespread concerns regarding the high incidence of crime, perception of corruption in the Royal Malaysian Police, general dissatisfaction with the conduct and performance of police personnel, and a desire to see improvements in the service provided by the police.”
This is why among its key recommendations is to “make crime reduction priority No. 1 for PDRM”, which is to be supported by another key proposal for the establishment of the IPCMC to ensure police accountability to ensure that it carries out this priority mission.
I call on Abdullah to stop all procrastination and announce government’s decision to establish the IPCMC in his budget speech on Sept. 1 which will also have a positive effect in improving the investment and tourism climate in the country.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman