Monday, December 22, 2008

Sarawak: The Next Beach Head

Sarawak started the tsunami wave in 2006 by electing 8 opposition state assemblymen and women, a vast increase from the original 1 sole representative. By 2010/2011, Malaysia will once again focus its attention on Sarawak as it'll once again hold its state elections. DAP will certainly put its best foot forward to carry on the wave of change by winning more seats than the 6 we currently have.

DAP Sarawak is also actively setting up branches with higher bumiputera membership, in part to extend our reach into the rural areas of Sarawak. The following is a recent blog post by our DAP Sarawak state chairman and state assemblyman for Bukit Assek, Sdr Wong Ho Leng on its efforts.

In November 2008, DAP approved the formation of two (2) predominantly Iban branches at Sibu Jaya and Sungai Merah, both in Sibu (Another predominantly Iban branch approved was Bintangor Scheme B).

This morning, members from these 2 branches gathered at the Sibu DAP office to hold their first Annual General Meeting (AGM) and elect the first office bearers.

The small DAP premises was filled to the full by these members. Every chair was occupied. Some members even had to stand throughout the meeting.

More branches will be formed in rural areas in the next few months. The formation of these branches will bear testimony that we are not content to work in the Chinese areas alone and shout for the rural constituencies from outside. We are determined to go rural, and to see improvement in the lives of all races, in particular, the economically besieged and poor Dayaks. These rural areas should have DAP Iban leaders serve them. They should go for change.

Several Iban leaders spoke at the meeting before the election of office bearers. They had one common theme in their speeches – the BN Government has neglected them despite promising the skies. They felt that their leaders have always resorted to threats and intimidation, dissuading them to join Opposition parties. They urged their members not to fear, because their community leaders are paid by the BN to speak for the BN Government. Often, their plights have not been relayed to the Government. Their voices were not heard. Needless to day, their speech were laced with the desire to see change.

Several SUPP and Dayak leaders used to tell me that the political sky-change in Sarawak will take place if the Ibans wake from their bondage to their leaders. These people are poor, and that is an asset to the BN. They hold them by the thread of poverty. They would promise them the sky but will not deliver.

I can see the desire to see change in the mindset of the Ibans. It looks like the end of BN Government in Sarawak is at hand.

In my speech, I said that the Ibans comprise 30% of the population in Sarawak. Though the biggest race, they are the poorest in Sarawak. They face problems not only in their land but also with earning a living in Sarawak. Many of the Iban youths have to leave Sarawak to work in the factories in Johore, Selangor and Penang. It is said that there are 40,000 Ibans working in Johore alone. They are also employed in the factories in Singapore.

Why can't they seek employment in the state of their birth? Why have they to look for greener pastures outside Sarawak?

I said from the bottom of my heart that the Ibans are poor because the BN Government has not looked after them well. With so many years in the Dewan Undangan Negeri, I know that their elected wakil rakyat are happy with the BN Government. As a result not much has changed in the lives and welfare of the Iban communities.

I said that during my time in the Dewan Undangan Negeri, I have not heard the Iban elected wakil rakyat of the BN fighting earnestly for the community, especially in solving the problems concerning the NCR land.

Over the years, we see NCR land taken from the Ibans. Yet, despite their so called involvement in the New Concept of NCR Development, many Ibans have complained that they have not been given their just rewards and dividends.

The Ibans should help themselves by booting out the BN Government in the next state election.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Spanking New CIQ Johor Bahru?

Ater 41 years of being in operation, the Malaysia-Singapore Causeway checkpoint finally closed its doors at 12.01am on 15 Dec. All activities and its operations moved to the spanking new Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex.

The immigration department director said that “traffic was at a slight crawl as there were some technical difficulties. All immigration personnel have been moved to the new complex, and we expect the new complex will reduce traffic congestion."

But since, the Star letters page have been flooded with non-stop complaints. I'm sure they have received much more rude letters which can't actually be printed as well from commuters. Check out letters "Chaos at new CIQ Complex", "No excuse for chaos" and "Pedestrians have it tough".

And 'Suffered Man' wrote to me to describe the complete failure by the traffic and engineering consultants at the CIQ.

Hi Tony,

I am one of the few hundred thousands of people travelling everyday to work in Singapore. The new CIQ that was operated fully since Tuesday, 16th Dec. have caused a disaster to us.

I feel very very disappointed because our stupid government never study properly on whole building design. The roads lead to the checkpoint are very narrow (2 lines). So it causea bottleneck at checkpoint. Imagine the mouth is so big but the stomach is so small. The traffic at the entrance is so massive but inner ring roads are only two lanes.

Malaysia boleh?  Pic courtesy of The Star Gallery

How do they going to solve this problem? The roads have been built, and seem like there are no ways to expand it. Did they survey properly on the traffic flow before building this CIQ? I think probably NO.

I just think that we are earning foreign currency and brining back to Malaysia to spend, more or less has been helping local economy to go on. We love our country. But did country loves too? What has this stupid government done to us? Those VIP & VVIP come down JB and have a grant opening for CIQ, then left silently without taking care of our suffer here after this.

Please help us to question them in Parliment, how are they going to solve this problems??? If not those VIP & VVIP will 'buat tak tau' and never solve this problem at all.

If you go back to your hometown (Batu Pahat), kindly do pay a visit to this 'luxurious' CIQ.

Your help is much highly appreciated.

Best Regards,
Suffered Man from JB

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Glomac Damansara: Was There Consultation?

Here's a perfect example of why our current local government system is completely screwed up. Let me put it forward very briefly as follows:
  • Developer for Glomac Damansara (check out the density for yourself) for Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) puts up the Development Proposal Notice at the site at the end of 2007. 

  • Interestingly enough, within a few days, the Notice Board gets hidden by opaque fences put up around the development site.

  • SS20 Rukun Tetangga chairperson spotted the notice and quickly submitted a letter to DBKL to object to the project, or at least to have it reviewed before the deadline allowed.

  • However, there was absolute silence from DBKL. I found out about the project sometime in Jun this year after being elected MP for Petaling Jaya Utara, which covers SS20. I spoke to my colleague, the MP for Segambut (which covers TTDI), Lim Lip Eng to follow up with DBKL and check on the status.

  • The project is now at a full-steam ahead pace. The response from DBKL was, SS20 was in Petaling Jaya which is not under its jurisdiction, and hence have no legal basis to submit complaints, despite being directly opposite the old Jalan Damansara road which forms the boundary between KL and PJ.
Ridiculous right? Wait til you hear what the Deputy Minister of Federal Territories say in parliament in response to my query (or see Hansard pg 52).
Sebenarnya kawasan saya bukannya di dalam kawasan Wilayah Persekutuan tetapi di sebelah kawasan Segambut, PJ Utara. Saya ingin menimbulkan satu perkara, satu isu yang telah terjadi di kawasan Taman Tun iaitu di kawasan Segambut yang bersempadan dengan kawasan SS20 di kawasan PJ Utara. Ada satu projek yang baru yang tengah dibangunkan di kawasan Taman Tun ini yang bernama Glomac Damansara dan ianya telah diluluskan saya agak pada akhir tahun lalu dan satu papan cadangan telah dinaikkan pada bulan November atau Disember tahun lalu.

Penduduk di sebelah jalan iaitu di SS20 kawasan saya telah pun menulis kepada pihak DBKL untuk membantah ataupun meminta supaya satu dialog ataupun satu penjelasan diadakan sebelum projek ini diteruskan dan dibina di kawasan Taman Tun. Akan tetapi pendedahan yang telah dimasukkan ke dalam DBKL ini langsung tidak diambil kira sebelum projek ini diberikan kelulusan dan projek ini buat masa ini telah pun berjalan.

Apabila saya menimbulkan perkara ini bersama dengan rakan saya dari Segambut ke pihak DBKL, pihak DBKL menjawab oleh kerana pihak pembantah adalah bukan daripada dalam Wilayah Persekutuan, mereka tidak ada locus standi untuk membantah mengenai projek ini.

Saya agak jawapan yang telah diberikan oleh pihak DBKL adalah tidak munasabah dan juga bersikap angkuh terhadap rakyat dan isu-isu yang perlu dipertimbangkan oleh pihak DBKL.

Selain daripada itu, saya juga ingin mendapat tahu adakah pihak DBKL apabila dia meluluskan apa-apa projek di kawasan Wilayah Persekutuan, terutamanya di kawasan sempadan yang bersempadan dengan kawasan lain di Selangor seperti di Petaling Jaya Utara, adakah satu perbincangan diadakan dengan pihak majlis perbandaran yang lain di sebelah itu. Saya rasa sudah ada banyak projek yang telah diluluskan di kawasan sana yang menyeberangi kawasan Taman Tun yang akan meningkatkan trafik di kawasan itu seperti adanya projek Tropicana City di MPPJ dan juga projek-projek yang lain yang bersempadan dengan pihak Taman Tun.

Adakah satu penyeluruhan mengenai traffic flow diadakan, satu study mengenai seluruh kawasan tersebut sebelum satu-satu projek diluluskan sebab projek ini adalah satu mix development, satu projek yang besar dan telah diiklankan oleh pihak pemaju sebagai satu projek yang bernilai RM500 juta di kawasan itu. Penduduk-penduduk yang di kawasan Petaling Jaya saya buat masa ini selalu membuat aduan kepada saya kerana mereka rasa mereka telah dipinggirkan.

...So, saya harap pihak DBKL dan juga pihak kementerian dapat menjawab supaya DBKL akan lebih mengambil kira isu-isu yang akan dibawa oleh semua penduduk di satu kawasan yang tengah dimajukan dan bukan sahaja penduduk-penduduk yang ada dalam Wilayah Persekutuan sahaja.
And the short reply from the Deputy Minister was (pg 89):
Seterusnya mengenai isu yang dibangkitkan oleh Ahli Yang Berhormat Petaling Jaya mengenai bantahan penduduk daripada SS20 berkenaan pembangunan di Lot 73, Jalan Damansara. Bantahan penduduk SS20 telah diambil kira dan Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur sedang mempertimbangkan dalam permohonan ini. Sesi penerangan telah dibuat bersama penduduk Taman Tun Dr. Ismail dan wakil penduduk SS20 Damansara pada 6 Oktober 2008. Pemaju telah membuat kajian trafik selaras dengan kehendak Jabatan Pengangkutan Bandar Kuala Lumpur.
End of story. Which means that allegedly a consultation has taken place in October this year with not only the residents of TTDI (which I'm unable to verify) as well as with SS20 representatives!

To be frank, I was a little stunned with the reply and didn't pursue the matter further in Parliament that day. After that I met up with the SS20 RT chairperson, and once again, she reaffirmed that there has been absolutely no contact and no consultation with the residents of SS20 since the letter was submitted in December 2007.

So the Deputy Minister has lied and misled the Parliament (which technically is a very serious offence, but we'll never get anywhere pursuing it - BN ministers and MPs does it all the time) and got away with it.

I'll now have to follow up on the matter further but these things really sometimes drive you up the wall as the arrogance of DBKL and the BN government on these issues affecting the people's livelihood are treated with total disdain and disinterest.

Interfaith Dialogue on Poverty

Pleased to inform that Klang MP Charles Santiago will hold an 'Interfaith Dialogue on Poverty' to highlight the issue of poverty and civil society's effort to deal with it and to encourage inter-religious interaction.

The keynote speech will be delivered by Dr. Hermen Shastri.  The other participating speakers are:
  • Islam : YB Khalid Samad (MP Shah Alam), Mr. Ismail Arsat (YDP PAS Klang)
  • Christian : Father Lawrence
  • Hindu : Mr. Kanapathy
  • Taoism : Mr. Wong Boon Chuan
  • Sikh : Hargopal Singh
  • Buddhism : To be confirmed
  • Bahai : To be confirmed
The details of the event are as follows:
Date : 20th Dec 2008 (Sat)
Time : 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Venue : MP Klang Community Centre, 2A, Jalan Bayu Tinggi 8/KS6, Batu Unjur, 41200 Klang
 This is an open event, anyone can join and invite others to join.. please call Yap (016-2026300) or Sarah (016-6267797) to confirm your attendance or if you have any queries.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Local Government Elections?

We have been talking about local government elections for the longest time. We pushed it hard during the last general elections. I know I did. I also know that there are many who have criticised the Pakatan Rakyat state governments as to why such elections have not been held.

There have been many reasons given for the delay, some of which I find very real and valid, others less so. I'll not deal with these reasons on this blog post. Instead, I've finally gotten a reply from the Ministry of Housing & Local Government on my following question with regards to local government elections.
[Petaling Jaya Utara] minta Menteri Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan menyatakan sama ada kerajaan akan membantah ataupun menghalang negeri-negeri yang dipimpin oleh DAP, PKR dan PAS melaksanakan pilihan raya Kerajaan Tempatan yang merupakan ruang lingkup kuasa Kerajaan Negeri. Jika ia, sila memberikan penjelasan yang terperinci.
The answer by the Ministry was essentially to say that the state has no such right as follows.
Untuk makluman Ahli Yang Berhormat, cadangan untuk mengadakan semula pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan adalah tidak selaras dengan undang-undang dan dasar sedia ada. Antara undang-undang yang berkenaan ialah Akta Kerajaan Tempatan 1976 (Akta 171) dan Akta Pilihanraya Kerajaan Tempatan 1960 (Akta 473).

Walaubagaimanapun, sekiranya terdapat cadangan untuk mengadakan pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan, maka selaras dengan peruntukan Perkara 96A Perlembagaan Persekutuan, persoalan dasar berhubung cadangan ini hendaklah terlebih dahulu dipertimbang dan diputuskan di peringkat Majlis Negara bagi Kerajaan Tempatan.
Is it? Is it not? I'm no legal expert but I do know that there's clearly uncertainty over who has control over local government elections. Regardless, it's clear from the answer above that the Federal Government will not support any attempts at local elections at the state government level.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Biro Tatanegara

I've asked about the racist nature of the Barisan Nasional's propaganda organ Biro Tatanegara and have received a written reply from the Prime Minister's office. I've blogged it here on my Education in Malaysia blog for those interested on the issue. ;-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fighting UUCA Tooth & Nail

Apologies for not having blogged for about a week. Besides a break since November was a record blogging month here, I was tied up with a few things, most notably "selling" dinner tickets as well as parliamentary work, particularly the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) which came up for debate in Parliament on Wednesday last week.

While, the most recent amendments to the UUCA has been passed without amendments late Thursday evening, readers should know (if it's of any comfort) that it was not passed before the representatives from Pakatan Rakyat giving the Minister of Higher Education some serious and often, uncomfortable grilling before it got passed.

At the same time, on behalf of an informal Pakatan Rakyat UUCA committee led by Nurul Izzah Anwar (LEMBAH PANTAI) and input from many academics, I have filed a motion to amend some 20 clauses in 6 sections, to the Amendment Act proposed by the Higher Education Ministry. Short of proposing a new bill, which will never see the light of day in the parliament, attempting to amend a bill which is put forward by the Government is the nearest and best available option to present our version of the bill.

The above is footage by Malaysiakini on a press conference which I gave a summary on the proposed amendments to the UUCA amendment bill.

I will blog on each of the sections which I have attempted to amend at the Committee stage of debate on the Amendment bill separate, as they are really long but most importantly, I will blog on the response of the Higher Education Minister on each of these sections, some of which were a real disappointing disgrace.

And for those who can't wait to read a little of my thoughts on UUCA, feel free to check out my posts on Education in Malaysia.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

ValueCap Not For Bailouts?

Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak continued to insist that the RM5 billion injection of public funds into the Valuecap Sdn Bhd investment fund will not be used to either bail out the politically connected of any government-linked companies (GLCs) as reported in the media today.

His denial has come to calm public fears and unhappiness over the move to direct the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to lend the RM5 billion to Valuecap.

However, his assurances lacks conviction for he has still begs many many questions.
  1. With so many credible foreign and local investment and fund managers with extensive experience in the local markets, why is it that the Government is not direct funds to these institutions to “value invest”? Why is it that the Government is directing these funds to a little known company, ValueCap, with uncertain, opaque and questionable track record to invest such a large sum of money?

  2. The fact that the original bond amounting to RM5.1 billion which will expire in March 2009 has been further extended beyond the terms of the agreement raises the question as why a company which has not been able to repay such an amount, be extended an additional RM5 billion? ValueCap is set to become one of the rare fund management company in the world which invests with nearly 100% of its investment capital sourced from loans and not from investors.

  3. After initial protests by the public on EPF's loan to ValueCap which is subjected to extensive risks, the Government took the most irresponsible step of becoming the guarantor to the loan. What that essentially means is that should ValueCap fail to repay the EPF, the tax payers will then bear the burden of the loan. 
This measure will also create a moral hazard situation whereby the fund managers will likely adopt a high risk investment strategy since there is no “downside” to the investment for the Government will bail them out in the event of failure.

In fact, the repeated attempts to provide verbal reassurance on EPF's RM5 billion injection by the Finance Minister clearly demonstrate continued public opposition to the measure since it was first announced more than a month ago.

Hence, Datuk Seri Najib should do what a responsible Finance Minster should do, that is to reverse the RM5 billion injection decision, and instead place appropriate pressure on the EPF investment board to improve the performance of its investment returns.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Syed Hamid Appoints Perception Expert

Over the past week, the police force as well as the Deputy Prime Minister have launched a concerted "public relations" attempt to fight the "perception" that crime is high in Malaysia, instead of fighting crime itself. They had loudly proclaimed that Malaysia is a safer place than countries such as Japan, Hong Kong and is even comparable to Singapore.

However, the exercised proved shortlived as DAP presented hard facts and information over the past few days via press conferences and in Parliament itself, that Malaysia is in not in anyway safer than Japan or Hong Kong, or even comparable to Singapore. I've blogged the research in detail here, or to quote Sdr Lim Kit Siang on his blog:
For instance, homicide per 100,000 population is 1.09 cases in Japan, 0.26 cases in Hong Kong but 2.12 in Malaysia; while rape per 100,000 population is 1.62 in Japan, 1.54 in Hong Kong while in Malaysia it is 11.47. For robbery per 100,000 population, it is 4.78 for Japan, 17.56 for Hong Kong while 90.49 for Malaysia.
Instead of taking the criticisms in the right spirit, and start to really act on crime in Malaysia, guess what our Home Minister decided to persist with his fight with "perception". I have just read in Financial Daily today that
...[t]he government intends to appoint an expert in criminal studies from a local university to do research on crime rate in the country in an effort to convince the people that the crime rate in Malaysia is lower than that in several other countries.
WHAT?! Faint(!) (If you want to faint a second time, read the report from The Star here)

Will someone be willing to pay and engage an "expert" in our local university to do a research to produce a report which will convince the Government that they are doing a terrible job in solving crime and that crime really is getting unbearable in this country?

I've provided all the relevant links and data sources for the information we have in our press statements as well as on my blog. These are the all sourced from the official government websites in Japan and Singapore. The police and Ministry just have to verify those information to obtain the "truth"!

With a Home Minister like Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, is there hope that crime will actually stop increasing, much less reducing it? I can only shake my head in absolutely and total disgust.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmas Carol in Recession

I got this Christmas Carol in mail, thought it's quite apt given the BN government's continued denial of what's happening.  Music please!
You'd better watch out,
You'd better not cry;
You'd better keep cash,
I'm telling you why:
Recession is coming to town.

It's hitting you once,
It's hitting you twice
It doesn't care if you've been careful and wise
Recession is coming to town

It's worthless if you've got shares
It's worthless if you've got bonds
It's safe when you've got cash in hand
So keep cash for goodness sake, HEY

You'd better watch out
You'd better not cry
You'd better keep cash
I'm telling you why:
Recession is coming to town!

Finance products are confusing
Finance products are so vague
The banks make you bear the cost of risk
So keep out for goodness sake, OH

You'd better watch out
You'd better not cry
You'd better keep cash
I'm telling you why:
Recession is coming to town.
An early "Happy Christmas" to you! ;-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What Economic Crisis?

So says the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Kong Cho Ha.
Malaysia is only feeling the minimum impact of the global economic crisis and financial meltdown, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha told the Dewan Negara today...

“It is only feeling the pinch indirectly from the minimum impact of the sub-prime mortgage crisis cushioned by the strong domestic economy,” he said when replying to a supplementary question from Senator Maijol Mahap during question time.
So guys, don't worry, be happy. ;-)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Crime is all Perception

That's what the Royal Malaysian Police and the Government would like you to think. Clearly, it seems if since the Police can't fight crime effectively, the next best thing to do is to fight perception.

The Royal Malaysian Police and the Deputy Prime Minister have over the past few days, gone on an offensive to blame the high crime rates in Malaysia on “perception”.

The Star reported on 30th November that the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Tan Sri Ismail Omar said the latest statistics showed the crime index to be 772 cases per 100,000 residents and compared it favourably against Singapore which according to him “recorded 704.7 cases, Hong Kong (1,166), Japan (1,569) and Australia (4,470)”.

On 1st December, the IGP himself, Tan Sri Musa Hassan was reported in the New Straits Times saying that “our crime rate is still low compared with many other countries although the global trend shows an increase... Singapore's crime rate is 740.7 cases for every 100,000 population, Hong Kong's is 1,166, Japan's is 1,569, Australia's is 4,470 and Rome's is 8,341.”

As reported in the Malaysian Insider, “Malaysia is still a very safe country, but the problem is public perception. We are trying our level best to give a correct picture,” Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Mohd Bakri Zinin told The Straits Times.

And as reported in the media today, our Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said that "our perception of crime must change" because “based on the statistics given by the police, it indicates that the crime rate in Malaysia is lower than Japan and Hong Kong.”

The above appears to be a concerted effort by the Government to downplay the significance of 2% increase in the crime index as of October this year compared to last year, as well as to blame the public concerons over high crime rates in Malaysia as a matter of misplaced “perception”.

Howvever, the Royal Malaysian Police has failed to provide the full picture in the statistics provided and instead have given a misleading perception that Malaysia is much safer than Japan, which is renown as one of the safest countries in the world.

Based on statistics provided by the Statistics Bureau of Japan, in 2007, the crime rate per 100,000 is 1,493.6. However, approximately 75% of this number is classified as “larceny” or theft (e.g., shoplifting etc.)

Similarly in 2005, the crime rate per 100,000 is 1,775.7. However, larceny made up 76% of all cases, while violent crimes which includes homicide, arson, rape, bodily injury etc., made up 3.8% or 66.6 cases per 100,000. Homicide and rape cases form 1.09 and 1.62 cases per 100,000 population respectively. In contrast, for 2007, violent crimes recorded 180.1 cases per 100,000 while homicide and rape cases in Malaysia form 2.12 and 11.47 cases per 100,000 population respectively.

The biggest contrast is for robbery cases in Japan which records only 4.69 cases per 100,000 while it's a staggering 88.76 cases for Malaysia. Similarly, criminal intimidation in Japan records only 1.92 cases per 100,000 while in Malaysia it's 21.31 cases. Hence, the Government's attempts to paint a picture that Malaysia is much safer than Japan is clearly misleading at best. In fact, from the statistics of violent crimes above, Malaysia is a much more dangerous place when compared to Japan.

To further illustrate how the comparisons with the countries highlighted is misleading is that the Malaysian index includes on violent and property crimes, but excludes white collar and moral crimes. For the Japanese index, “intellectual offences” (e.g., fraud, embezzlement, counterfeit etc.) and moral offences makes up 20% of the total crime rate in 2005.

Similarly in Singapore, the Singapore Police Force announced a crime rate of 715 per 100,000 in 2007 where commercial and miscellaneous crimes constitute 21.8% of the index. Hence the claim that Malaysia is nearly as safe as Singapore is clearly unfounded.

In addition, separate crimes ranking table compiled by NationMaster, Malaysia is ranked 34th in terms of the number of murders per capita, which is higher compared to Australia (43), Italy (47), Hong Kong (59) and Japan (60). In terms of rapes per capita, we are ranked 38th, but still ahead of Italy (46), Japan (54) and Hong Kong (55).

Therefore, while Malaysia is clearly not the worst country in the world in terms of crime, the fact that the crime index has risen by more than 45% since 2003, while violent crimes have increased by more than 85% demonstrates clearly the dire circumstances we are in.

The people of Malaysia no longer feel secure and safe walking the streets. Hence the Government's attempts to change the “perception of crime” in Malaysia by citing statistics which are most misleading is most irresponsible. Instead of continuously blaming public perception as the key reason why crime is seen as serious in this country, the Government and the Royal Malaysian Police should instead focus its efforts in fighting crime and improving its credibility with tangible steps, such as implementing the full recommendations of the Royal Police Commission report which included the restructuring of the police force such that 30% of the police force is transferred from administrative to crime-fighting functions as well as to set up the all-important Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.