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Abdullah’s worry about unchecked rising crime index and multi-prong anti-crime strategy should not be just election gimmicks to give Malaysians a false sense of security

Media Conference          
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Ipoh, Thursday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s expression of “worry” about the rising crime index and his announcement of a multi-prong strategy to combat crime lack seriousness and conviction, as they appear to be just election gimmicks to give Malaysians a false sense of security that something is being done to fight crime with the approach of the general election. 

New Straits Times front-page headline yesterday, “CRIME RATE UP 13.4% - PM expresses alarm Announces remedial action” understates the gravity of the crime situation in Malaysia during the four-year Abdullah premiership. 

The crime rate rose by 13.4 per cent last year but in the four years of Abdullah premiership, crime rate shot up by an even more alarming 45%. 

When Abdullah became Prime Minister in October 2003, the crime situation was already out of control which was why one of his first reform promises and measures which won him all-round plaudits and support among Malaysians was the establishment of the Royal Police Commission to reduce crime to restore to Malaysians their twin fundamental rights to be free from crime and the fear of crime, whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes. 

After four years, Malaysia today is even  more unsafe to its citizens, visitors, tourists or investors because of endemic crime. 

In the past four years, the crime index had worsened from 156,315 cases in 2003 to 224,298 cases in 2007 – a sharp rise of some 45% when it should have gone down as recommended by the Royal Police Commission. For the first time in the nation’s 50-year history, the crime index last year crashed through the 200,000 psychological barrier. Women in Malaysia are now more unsafe today than four years ago – as the incidence of rape had more than doubled from a daily average of four women in 2003 to 8.5 women last year! 

Is the five-prong anti-crime strategy announced by Abdullah adequate to make Malaysia a safer country than just four years ago before he became Prime Minister? 

One of the five anti-crime strategies is to appoint civilians to administrative positions and thereby release police personnel for their main duties. 

This is actually Recommendation No. 78 of the 125 recommendations of the Royal Police Commission to create an efficient, accountable, incorruptible, professional world-class police service to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and uphold human rights. 

The Royal Police Commission proposed “Civilianising or outsourcing functions presently performed by uniformed personnel in PDRM, and re-deploying the uniformed personnel to core policing functions”. It said that such a move would immediately release 35,000 uniformed police personnel for core policing functions, i.e. fighting crime and catching criminals! 

The Royal Police Commission provided a time-line for the implementation of this proposal – “In phases. Completion by May 2007” 

This is January 2008 and the Prime Minister is still talking about this proposal of “appointing civilians to administrative positions to release police personnel” for their core police duties to fight crime and catch criminals! What a shame and disappointment! 

DAP has decided make crime, law and order the top national theme in the next general election – which will be a first in the nation’s 50-year electoral history. 

Today, we are here to launch in Perak state the DAP’s “Good Cops, Safe Malaysia” campaign theme for the next general election, starting with the visit to the Kampong Simee market just now. 

Together with other DAP Perak state leaders, I will take part in a two-day whistle-stop campaign to take the DAP message of “Good Cops, Safe Malaysia” to all Malaysians as it is the basic right and expectation of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs to enjoy personal safety and property security. Among the places I will visit in the weekend two-day whistle-stop campaign in Perak will be Ipoh, Teluk Intan, Taiping, Sungei Siput, Pantai Remis, Kampar and Bidor.


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

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