Monday, August 13, 2012

Malaysian criminal activities now getting international attention

The fear of crime is soaring in Malaysia as personal tales of abduction, assault and robbery go viral online, raising pressure on authorities to respond and triggering scrutiny of official claims that offences are down.

Shopping malls and residents' groups have launched patrols, sales of security equipment are surging, newspapers offer tips on how to avoid becoming a victim and social media are abuzz with anguish over the situation, AFP reports.

Residents of the multi-ethnic Muslim-majority country have long complained about bag-snatching and other petty crime. But more serious recent incidents have gained wide attention on the internet, channeling public concern in a country where nearly half the population of 28 million is on Facebook.

A day after two men tried to abduct Chin Xinci at knifepoint in her car at an upscale Kuala Lumpur mall in May, she wrote about the ordeal on the social networking site, a post that was shared more than 51,000 times. Fearing rape, she escaped by jumping from the vehicle as it slowed to exit the carpark. The attackers got away.

“To me, it felt like one long nightmare. We never think it's going to happen to us... and then it does,'' the 24-year-old wrote.

Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged to reduce crime after taking power in 2009 and, with fresh elections due next year, his government claims progress, saying the crime problem is being hyped online. It said the number of reported crimes fell 11.1 percent in 2011 and was down 10 percent in the first half of 2012, crediting stepped-up patrols in crime-hit areas and increased lighting in public.

But many victims say officers tell them there is little they can do to catch bag-snatchers and muggers, and critics say the drop in reported crimes could be due to the resulting apathy about seeking police help.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein admitted authorities were losing the ''perception'' battle. “I'm not in denial. This is something that needs to be addressed,'' he said last month.

Malaysia's official crime rate appears relatively low when compared internationally.
According to the most recent government data, 740 crimes were reported per 100,000 people in 2009, compared with 665 in Singapore, but differing methods of data compilation make such comparisons imprecise.

Skepticism over the figures is rife, given that nearly every resident of Kuala Lumpur has been a victim of bag-snatching or “smash’’ thefts. In the latter case, perpetrators on motorcycles will shatter a car window at a red light, snatch belongings, and use the capital's notorious traffic jams to speed off unpursued.

``There has been a spike over the past couple of weeks with regard to especially this snatch theft and crimes against women,'' said Lee Lam Thye, vice-chairman of the government-linked Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation. “When this goes on the internet and YouTube the impact is very great.’’

Some blame illegal immigrants but victims of some of the most brazen crimes say the perpetrators were Malaysians.

Whatever the causes, Facebook users are trading stories of women assaulted in mall carparks, and knife-wielding robbers tying up families.

National police chief Ismail Omar insisted last month that incidents were few, but conceded that people were becoming afraid of visiting shopping complexes.

Jeffrey Tan, general manager of Centrix Security, said sales of closed-circuit television cameras have
jumped 40 percent in the last three months.

[Source: The Standard, Hong Kong]

1 comment:

  1. yeah! i support it too~ =)

    Regards, (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..