Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crime Rising in Selangor

There has been increasing concern over the recent months over the crime rates in the country, especially in Klang Valley and urban areas.

On May 27, 25 year old internet marketeer Chin Xin-Ci had a meat cleaver pressed against her throat before being shoved into the car in an attempted kidnap and car robbery in The Curve. On June 7, teacher Teoh Soo Kim was found  at the Talam oil palm estate in Kuala Selangor after she had been abducted from Bandar Kinrara, beaten up and her car stolen.  Two days later, Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat was left with a bloody face after being assaulted while jogging in Petaling Jaya in the morning.  There is no doubt that there are many other unreported cases.

However, the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had said that the recent cases of violent crime were “isolated”.  He said “blowing a few cases out of proportion would create a perception that Malaysia was unsafe country, when official data showed otherwise”.

The problem is, when we request for official detailed crime statistics from the Minister, such statistics are not at all forthcoming.  This was not the case before 2009 when detailed statistics were readily made available to Members of Parliament.

I’ve finally received the official reply from the Home Minister to my written answer question posed in the March 2012 parliamentary session after more than 3 months of waiting.  And yet, the answers are intentionally incomplete so as to give the people an incomplete picture of the real crime situation.  I’ve posed the same questions to the Minister on several other parliamentary sessions over the past 2 years, and each time, I get the same reply with very little information.

In this latest question, I’ve asked for a detailed breakdown of crime statistics broken down by districts (Petaling Jaya, Klang, Serdang etc.) and type of crime (Violent crime: murder, rape, armed robbery, unarmed robbery, assault; Property theft: Motor vehicles, snatch theft, burglary etc.) in Selangor for each year since 2006.

The Minister has refused to provide the relevant detailed breakdowns. Instead, he gave only the total number of violent crime and property theft for each of these years.  There was no further breakdown by districts in Selangor or by type of crime.

I’ve also asked that the same national statistics be given, broken down by states and type of crime.  However, the Minister once again gave only the total number of crime incidence for the entire country since 2006.  He refused to break it down by states, or by the type of crime.

Clearly Najib’s administration is trying to provide only positive looking summary data to improve the perception of his government.  PEMANDU does the exact same thing by obfuscating crime data which will give a positive perception to the Government in its National Key Result Area (NKRA) reports.  For example, one will not be able to find any of the above data which I’ve requested in PEMANDU’s Annual Report in 2010 for the Government Transformation Plan (GTP) on the NKRA on Crime.

Despite that, with the little data that is provided in the latest parliamentary reply, we could already tell that crime is once again on the rise, especially in Selangor.  In 2010, the total number of violent crimes in Selangor was 7,853 cases but has increased to 8,141 cases in 2011.  Similarly, the total number of theft cases increased from 31,838 to 36,161 cases over the same period.  In total, the crime index for Selangor has worsened by 11.6% from 39,691 to 44,302!

This is despite the fact that many major cities in the Klang Valley has been turned into “war zones” with barricades, security checkpoints and boom-gates set up in various residential zones at the residents’ own expense.  These private security measures have contributed to significantly reducing crime incidence in these areas.

The above data proves that there are many possible areas of weakness in the Government’s fight against crime which it is trying to hide from the public.  While the overall crime levels may have dropped from 2009 to 2010 due to the initial flurry of police activities after the NKRA on crime was launched, it appears that crime is definitively on the rise again in 2011, and could have increased further in 2012.

We call on the Government to be completely transparent with its crime data.  In fact, the latest annual report of the Royal Malaysian Police which can be downloaded from their website is the 2008 copy.

There is absolutely no point of the Home Minister and PEMANDU singing praises of the Government with half-truths and blaming the people’s real fear of crime on “perception”.  Instead, the Government should tackle the serious crime issue head on, by recognizing the increase in crime, especially in Selangor and announce the necessary steps to halt the deteriorating circumstances.
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