Tuesday, September 04, 2012

PEMANDU Must Retract Safest Country in Southeast Asia Claim

PEMANDU has in its Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Annual Report 2011 and its many presentations, claimed that “for the first time ever, Malaysia attains “most peaceful” and “safest nation” titles Malaysia’s position as the most peaceful country in Southeast Asia and the 4th safest in the Asia Pacific region behind New Zealand, Japan and Australia was validated by the 5th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2011.”

What’s more, PEMANDU claimed credit for Malaysia being “ranked the safest country among 19 upper middle income countries by the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2011. Both external validations underscored the good progress made under the Reducing Crime NKRA.”

The recent expose by an anonymous letter accused the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) of manipulating crime statistics to present an artificial picture of the crime situation in Malaysia was confirmed with the data provided by PDRM.

Based on the PDRM statistics, they successfully reduced the official crime statistics from 209,572 in 2007 to 157,891 in 2011, or 24.7% over the period.  However, this was achieved at the expense of the unpublished “non-index crime”, which increased from 42,752 to 72,106 or a massive 68.7% over the same period.  More obviously, in the first year of the GTP Reducing Crime NKRA, the official crime index dropped by 15.4% in 2010 but the non-index crime increased by 21.5%.

Most suspiciously, “non-index crime” is increasing annually as a proportion of total crime since 2007 based on PDRM data.  It has increased from 16.9% of total crime in 2007 to 21.9% (2008) to 22.8% (2009) to 29.8% (2010) to a record of 31.4% in 2011.

The clear-cut disjoint between the significant drop in “index crime” versus the drastic increase in “non-index crime” points strongly towards data manipulation, and validates the accusation by the anonymous letter writer that the PDRM is systematically re-classifying “index crime” to “non-index crime” cases.

Hence all the supposed achievements which PEMANDU has been trumpeting from the rooftop, including the unbelievable claim that Malaysia is the safest country in Southeast Asia, even safer than Singapore, is built on artificial and manipulated data.

While other countries like Singapore include all types of crime – including moral and white-collar crimes in their crime statistics, Malaysia has to massage its crime data by publishing “index crime” data and hiding “non-index crime” from official statistics.  In United Kingdom, even “anti-social behaviour” is classified as a crime on the Police website.

Malaysians are completely puzzled as to why a robbery is re-classified into a “non-index crime” just because the weapon is “concealed”.  Similarly, according to PDRM, “if a house break-in occurred but no goods or belongings were evidently removed by the burglar, e.g. if perpetrator escaped before he or she managed to take any goods… the investigation officer will necessarily charge the offender with a lesser offence such as Section 452 and 453” which are “non-index crimes”.

Instead of crowing on the PDRM achievements via manipulated statistics, such as the claim of an alleged 39.7% fall in street crimes between 2009 and 2011, PEMANDU must overhaul its entire crime reporting and evaluation mechanism.  PEMANDU must immediately recommend the scrapping of the ludicrous official “index crime” and the hidden “non-index crime” classification which is clearly subjected to manipulation and to artificially improve “perception” among Malaysians.

In fact it is the police and the Government’s persistent pre-occupation with “perception” of crime, instead of effectively fighting crime which inevitably leads to statistical manipulation by those responsible.

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