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Call on Cabinet Ministers to be collectively responsible for the worsening crime situation and to demand weekly police report on security situation until crime rate is brought down to pre-Royal Police Commission period

Media Statement   
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Ipoh, Sunday): Malaysians are horrified by the  brutal rape-and-murder of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) student Tang Lai Meng from Menglembu, Perak at Bandar Mahkota Cheras three days ago, which has again reminded Malaysians on the occasion of the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary that they have lost the most precious of all human rights – the fundamental right to be free from crime and the fear of crime, whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their home. 

There is a danger that Malaysians, whether the authorities including the police, and the citizenry have become numbed to the vicious spiral of the crime index in the country as to accept that the escalation of crime is an inevitable part and price of Malaysia’s development. 

This is not acceptable and Malaysians from walks of life must make it clear that their most important wish on the occasion of the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary is the restoration of a safe country where Malaysians can walk the streets and public places as well as return to their  home without fear of being victims of crime. 

A crime-infested society knows no race, as illustrated by the case of the Malay woman motor-cycle pillion rider in Johor Bahru two days ago who was abducted, gang-raped and robbed by six robbers. 

I call on Cabinet Ministers to be collectively responsible for the worsening crime situation in the country and to demand weekly police report on security situation until the crime rate is brought down to pre-Royal Police Commission period. 

When Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became Prime Minister about four years ago, he promised to make the war on crime one of his administration’s top agendas. 

As a result, he established the Royal Police Commission to make recommendations to create a world-class police force which can keep crime low. 

In its report, the Royal Police Commission expressed shock that there had been  a 29 per cent increase of crime in the eight years from121,176 cases in 1997 to 156,455 cases in 2004, and sounded the warning that unless this trend was checked and reversed, there would be “major social and economic consequences for Malaysia”: 

It recommended a major police crackdown on crime and the “immediate target of a minimum of 20 per cent decrease” in the incidence of crime within the first 12 months. 

Instead of a 20 per cent reduction of crime in the first 12 months after the Royal Police Commission, there had been a 27 per cent increase in the crime index from 156,455 cases in 2004 to 198,622 cases in  2006 – when it took eight years for the crime index to increase 29 per cent from 1997 to 2004 which the Royal Police Commission had found completely unacceptable. 

In the first six months of this year, the crime index worsened by 5.11 per cent when compared to the same period last year.    Just to illustrate the gravity of the worsening crime problem, there were 8.2 cases of rape a day in the first six months of this year as compared to 4 cases a day in 2003! 

This is clear proof that the crime situation had got very much worse after the Royal Police Commission Report, although the reverse should have taken place – as the government had given up to 42% increase in salaries for police personnel, RM2.5 billion for police housing, as well as hundreds of millions of other allocations for  improvements in police service as recommended by the Royal Police Commission Report. 

Yet, the crime situation has continued to escalate, without a word of concern whether by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister or the Cabinet  about this worsening crime problem. 

The causes of the worsening crime situation are many, including socio-economic problems of  family breakdowns, failure of educational system, drug menace, illegal immigrant presence, etc, but one major cause is undoubtedly the lack of political leadership and responsibility for the escalating crime problem. 

As the Internal Security Minister, Abdullah should bear personal and direct responsibility for the worsening crime situation – but as Prime Minister, Abdullah appears to be responsible for nothing even though he is also Internal Security and Finance Minister. 

This atrocious state of affairs cannot continue with the deteriorating crime situation which has made life a nightmare not only to Malaysians, but also tourists and investors. 

Unless and until the crime index is brought back to the pre-Royal Police Commission period, the Cabinet must collectively be responsible for the crime situation, asking for a weekly crime report to monitor police progress in beating crime, and such a weekly police report to the Cabinet should also be made public. 

Beating crime and restoring the fundamental right of personal safety must be the top challenge of the Cabinet and Parliament. 

Henceforth, every Minister, regardless of his or her portfolio, must be prepared to answer public questions and concerns as to what the Cabinet is doing to reduce crime to the pre-Royal Police Commission levels, or Malaysians must exercise their right to demand for the Minister’s resignation for evading the most basic responsibility to ensure that the country is safe for the citizens.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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