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First Parliamentary Caucus “Fight Rising Crime” hearing on Sunday – wiping out the atmosphere of crime and fear of crime to create a “Safe JB” and “Safe Malaysia”

Media Conference         
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Johor Baru, Wednesday): The Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance’s first public hearing on “Fight Rising Crime” in Johor Baru at Tropical Inn on Sunday at 2.30 pm is part of a national campaign to restore to Malaysians their most important human rights in any civilized society – to be free from crime and the fear of crime. 

Many Malaysians, particularly in Johor Baru, have lost these twin fundamental human rights.   

In Johor Baru last night, I am reminded of Sandakan and Tawau in Sabah, where people stay at home at night in fear of their personal safety and their loved ones if they come out into the streets and public places. In fact, even in the privacy of their homes, they do not feel safe from robbers and criminals! 

Is Johor Baru going the way of the Sandakan and Tawau?  In fact, I have been told by some Sabahans in Johor Baru that the Johore capital has become worse than Sandakan and Tawau. 

This of course can be debated, but what is undeniable is that there is a prevalent atmosphere of fear of personal safety, whether of oneself or of loved ones, whether in the streets, public places or privacy of the homes in Johor Baru which must be regarded as the worst in Peninsular Malaysia. 

It is no exaggeration to describe Johor Baru as a capital of crime in Malaysia, with 70 per cent of the crime index in Johore state coming from JB. 

This is one of the most intolerable aspects of the country’s development on the occasion of the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary, and all concerned, whether the government, police, political parties, civic bodies, non-government organsiations and Malaysians citizens must come together to end this disgraceful aspect of Malaysian life. 

Johor Baru had set a great example of this civic awakening in the very successful mass signature campaign launched by the Johor Baru Chinese Chung Hwa Association. 

In Johor Baru, which has suffered for so long under rampant crime and lawlessness, there is a belated government and police awareness of the problem as a result of a spate of brutal crimes and public outcry not only in JB but nation-wide at the loss of police control of the crime situation – with the deployment of more cops, patrol cars and greater police visibility publicly. 

But public confidence has still to be fully restored – as there is widespread skepticism whether there is the full police commitment and political will to have a sustained campaign to restore to JB and all parts of Malaysia the safety and security all citizens, visitors, tourists and investors are entitled to enjoy in keeping with a civilized and ordered society. 

Are the police efforts so far adequate?  What more should be done? The Parliamentary Caucus of Human Rights and Good Governance, which is chaired by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, has decided on a first series of three public hearings in JB on 8th July, Petaling Jaya on 11th July and Bukit Mertajam on 15th July, where the public can speak up to voice their experience, concerns, fears and hopes so that there is again a “safe JB”: and “safe Malaysia” as in the early decades of nationhood. 

It would be most meaningful if the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations this year is informed and motivated by a national resolution to restore to JB, Johore and Malaysia the reputation of a safe destination whether for residents, tourists or investors. 

The Parliamentary Caucus hopes that the first public hearing in JB can be a successful start to give birth to a sustained parliamentary effort to create a “safe JB” and “safe Malaysia”. The focus of the public hearing is not just the crime situation in JB but the whole state of Johore. 

Let this be a people-centred, people-motivated and people-empowered event, with all citizens, whether political parties, civic organizations or NGOs, helping to spread the word about the public hearing, whether by word of mouth or SMS so that we can all feel safe and secure in our own homeland and home – able to be free from crime and the fear of crime when out in the streets, public places or in the privacy of our homes.

Earlier this morning, MP for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan and I met the Johore Chief Police Officer, Datuk Hussein Ismail and other top Johore state police officers, and when I raised the concerns of the people, he assured that the Police is commtted to a long-term sustained mission to fight and control crime in Johor Baru and Johore and is not just engaged in a short-term PR exercise. 

He said there would be an increase of another 800 new cops to the addition of 400, making an total new complement of 1,200 new cops by August/September. He said the police has now a hotline 07-2212999 which is manned by multi-lingual staff.


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

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