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.
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.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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
Malaysia's official crime rate appears relatively low when compared
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
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
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
40 percent in the last three months.
[Source: The Standard, Hong Kong]