Friday, April 26, 2013

Politicizing Crime

Pic credit: Mior Azfar Mior Karulbaidam

It is indeed tragic that Irene Ong Ai Siam was killed in an attempted robbery which horribly turned into a murder. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident at Bukit Gasing. The four, aged between 16 and 18, were detained by police at Flat Sri Medan and Flat Bukit Gasing Indah within two days of the incident.

Following the murder, the Police have announced that a mobile beat base will be stationed in Bukit Gasing from today Saturday 27th April to ensure safety. The mobile beat base would operate for six hours every day from 7am to 10am and from 4pm to 7pm. It will also operate on weekends and public holidays.

In collaboration with residents associations, the police have also created a volunteer group comprising joggers in the area to mentor those who have just taken up the activity.

Now comes the even more tragic part. Instead of allowing the grieving family space to deal with their loss, we have some people with vested interests who have swooped to take advantage of this sad incident to put the grieving family into the national spotlight to further their own agenda.  

Read about it here.
After 56 years as a nation, one would have thought that Malaysians would have learnt our lessons and learnt to live together. As we seek more democratic freedoms, we must be prepared to give and take without politicians and their agents resorting to the peddling of hate.

This is a general election where the call for change must be through the ballot box and not through the politicizing of unfortunate victims of crime.

The Spanker accepts that it is a valid election tactic to stoke the emotions of the rakyat so that they will vote for you but those doing the instigation must also know when to pull their punches so that things do not go overboard.

Politicians, well known for their oratory capabilities, owe it to the country to make sure that in their politicking, they also condemn such acts of crime and senseless violence which are simply not the Malaysian way.

Many politicians on both sides of the divide are really of no help as many only want to pursue their own agendas by hijacking the current red hot issue of crime as a free ride to popularity, given the fast looming general elections.

Bashing the Government, its various agencies and the cops is easy peasy but public apathy has also been identified as one of the reasons why criminals have become more brazen in committing crimes. Fighting crime isn’t the prerogative of the police alone.

There is no doubt that the responsibility for fighting crime rests squarely on the shoulders of the PDRM. That’s what they’re paid for right? The truth of the matter is that there are simply not enough cops to cover every single area.

Much as they would like to think that they are omnipresent, they are not. No police district can assure 100% safety of its inhabitants. Criminals are also not stupid. If they spot the police at a location, they will simply move to another location to commit their crime. It's ultimately our own responsibility to be alert and vigilant at all times. Irene was indeed alert and pro-active yet she still fell victim to a senseless and brutal act of violence.

Then there are the many politicians who defend criminals that are violent, abusive, and even homicidal. These defenders do so for two chief reasons: (1) out of a misplaced sense of "fairness" or (2) because there are organizations and destructive forces that pay them money, goods, recognition, contracts, jobs and services.

The first reason is the most common: many, perhaps most, decent people wish to be champions of "freedom," which is laudable. The problem is that this noble desire is often blind to the activities of criminals and political agendas. In the desire to be "fair" and "just" and to "protect freedom of expression," these champions blindfold themselves to the horrors committed by the very criminals they defend.

They generally fail to recognize the fact that while belief and freedom of expression is certainly sacrosanct and thus defend-able, criminal, abusive, and harmful behavior by and/or based upon freedom is indefensible. The end result of these actions is that many of our young people will never reach their potential if they are allowed to be influenced by such warped logic. 
The peddling of a hate culture has been proven to be very effective in political marketing, especially when people are trapped in certain mindsets that determine their views. An election, after all, is the final closing move in the marketing of political emotions to sway voters to one side instead of the other.

Another hotly discussed topic is the abolishment of the Emergency Ordinance. There is fear that former detainees are now freely rampaging back to their bad boy ways. These ex-EO detainees are being blamed for the recent spike in crime although there is no hard data to back this claim. If this claim is indeed true, who were the champions who called for its repeal?

Although the police had justified the use of the EO to bring in criminals that they could not charge in court due to insufficient evidence, they themselves have also been accused of abusing the EO.

What we need is solid preventive act to deter these thugs and restore public confidence. At the same time the public also need to play their role as responsible citizens in ensuring that crime is prevented. The prevention of crime is vital towards the building of a peaceful and safe Malaysia. While crime fighting is undoubtedly the responsibility of the authorities, the public can also play an important role by looking out for themselves and their local community.

It is every individual’s duty to report a crime to the police. The information provided could be used to prevent other crimes and help keep other people safe, yet there is a deep set reluctance among the Malaysian public to step forward and give evidence.

Many fear testifying in the courts as the lengthy court process is actually a hindrance to the police and prosecution to dispatch these thugs to jail. Furthermore there are also those who fear repercussion to their personal safety and those of their loved ones as the perpetrators make bail before you can say “Jackrabbit”.

Since the last general election, hate culture has been stoked steadily to the point where reason has little chance or participation in civil discourse. Hate has become the norm in our political engagement, especially in cyber space.

The simple reason for this is that people don’t make rational decisions based on detailed information, careful analysis or conscious thought. The hate emotion is usually used in campaign messages to raise the profile of certain personalities and “expose” the unsuitability of others by disparaging them.

The Spanker truly hopes that politicians and their various thinly disguised human rights, freedom rights and whatever else fill-in-the-blank rights NGOs will not use Irene’s senseless death as a campaign issue. Please do not traumatize her family needlessly.

Instead of allowing these irresponsible politicians to use Irene's death to divide us, Let it unite us. As of writing this, close to 700,000 Malaysians irrespective of race, religion, color and creed have made a pledge to stand United Against Crime. Won’t you join us?


Anonymous said...

If the victim is a Malay, nobody would care.


ayah said...

Tomorrow we win, there will be zero crime. All Chinese and Indians will be heavily protected individually; let the Malays hang themselves. Malay police can do what? We are the kings after all. We will have Chinese/Indian IGP and Home Minsiter. Then everything will be fine.

This is what I get after reading all those comments in MI. How simplistic supposedly educated Malaysians can be. Good luck to them then.

Anonymous said...


Isn't he your Best Friend if not of the Same Feather?