Archive for June 17th, 2007

Johor Crime: The Public and The Papers Protest

June 17, 07

The papers are full of opinion pieces about Johor’s crime. I highlight two below; extras can be found at Order goes out to cops – wipe out crime.

I signed the Tiong Hua Federation petition. For the news reports about the three gang rape cases mentioned, see my posts on the first one and the most recent two.
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From NST 17 June 2007 (NST removes links after a week):

Gang rape cases enrage public

By : Lau Meisan and Chong See Seong

A mother and daughter signing the petition yesterday calling for a safer Johor Baru.
A mother and daughter signing the petition yesterday calling for a safer Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU, Sun:

A wave of criticism is building against the police here for responding too slowly to crime, following a brutal gang rape in Tampoi on Monday.

Several text message campaigns have criticised police efforts in fighting crime, especially violent ones, and a petition has collected thousands of signatures in less than a day.

Yesterday, hundreds of people at an anti-crime dialogue booed and heckled a deputy superintendent of police invited to speak by the dialogue’s organisers.

The backlash follows the gang rape of a young woman on Monday, and allegations by her family that police were slow to respond.

The 19-year-old woman was abducted with her boy-friend, and robbed.

The couple was brought to an abandoned hut in Taman Tampoi Indah where she was gang-raped by three of the four robbers while her boyfriend was forced to watch.By Friday, police had detained 14 suspects believed to have been involved in similar cases over the last two months. The case on Monday was the fourth known case since late April.

The first was in Tampoi where three carjackers gang-raped a pregnant woman who was abducted with her son from a petrol station.

On May 22, another robbery-cum-gang rape took place in Pantai Lido, and about two weeks ago along the Pasir Gudang Highway.

Yesterday, hundreds of people at the Johor Baru Tiong- hua Federation’s anti-crime dialogue jeered DSP Leow Kian Heung, who heads the state crime prevention unit.

Leow cut short his speech and left.

Some 2,500 people were at the two-hour dialogue at the federation’s building here to sign a petition urging the authorities to redouble efforts to stamp out crime in Johor.

The petition collected some 5,000 signatures yesterday, said JBTF chairman Alex Lua.

A similar online petition which the federation posted on jbtalks.cc/petition/list.php on Friday night collected about 15,000 signatures in under 24 hours, he said.

Politicians have not been spared either.

“Since the gang rape, I’ve been bombarded with calls and SMSes from my constituents who are worried about the increase in violent crime,” said Johor Jaya state assemblyman Tan Cher Puk.

State MCA chief Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek urged the public to remain calm. “Do not let racial sentiment go to your head, and turn the crime issue into an emotional topic,” he said in Muar yesterday.

The priority should be to let the police investigate and capture the suspects as soon as possible. “The criminals picked their victims randomly and the public should not think that a particular race is being targeted.”

Calling for the SMS campaigns to end, he described these as irresponsible acts which would stir up emotions.

He said the state MCA would arrange for Chinese association leaders to meet Johor police chief Datuk Hussin Ismail tomorrow to express their concern over violent crime.

He said the delegation would also call on Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who is also the Johor Security and Safety Committee chairman, to beef up police manpower, patrol vehicles and equipment by the end of the month.

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From The Star 17 June 2007

Bring in the crime-busters

ON THE BEAT:BY WONG CHUN WAI 

JOHOR Baru has a grim reputation as a crime-infested city and it is a perception that the Government must work hard to change if the state’s economic plans are to succeed. 

All the hard work by the Federal Government to promote the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) will be affected if investors think that Johor Baru is not safe. 

The security problem was one of the issues potential investors posed to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when he visited Singapore recently to talk about the multi-billion-ringgit IDR. 

Like it or not, investors will not put money into the project if they do not feel safe. That is a fact. 

Over the past week, there have been two violent rapes that have triggered a public outcry against the perpetrators. In the first incident on June 12, three men raped a 19-year-old girl and her 22-year-old boyfriend could only watch helplessly because he had been slashed twice. 

The following day, a group of armed men took a couple on a one-hour terror ride before raping the 35-year-old woman in the presence of her friend, who was also slashed. 

Last month, a woman who was waiting in the car while her husband went into the toilet was held up at knife-point and taken on a terror ride, gang-raped and robbed. 

What horrified Malaysians was that the victim was a pregnant woman who begged the men to let her go but they took turns to rape her instead, in the presence of her three-year-old son, in a secluded area. 

In May, a gang reportedly terrorised city folk by kicking them off their motorbikes before robbing them. Malaysians returning from Singapore were the targets. 

All these high-profile cases of violent crimes have further dented the city’s image, giving the impression that JB is a lawless city and the police seem unable, even incapable, to combat crime effectively. 

The public has a right to question the effectiveness of the state police force and they certainly have every right to demand responsibility on the part of the police officials. 

The state’s top brass are paid to fight, or at least manage crime, and if they are unable to fulfil their roles, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan has to review their positions. 

Johor must be given top priority because of the importance of the IDR as the country’s Southern Gateway and every support must be given by all agencies and the private sector to make it a reality. 

In March, it was reported that Johor police would get RM330mil for new personnel and hardware to fight crime, including 500 more mobile patrol units, which will ensure a response time of 15 minutes or less.  

Johor, which has a 3,000-strong police force, is recruiting at least 2,000 more. 

Johor certainly needs plenty of crime-busters and firepower. Last year, a total of 29,079 cases ranging from theft of undergarments to kidnapping were reported in 76 police stations around the state. 

About 68% of these reports were lodged in JB district alone while the rest was spread across the remaining seven districts. 

While Johor is in the news for violent crimes, it is not the number one state for crime. Selangor is ranked top, but it is no consolation as Johor is in second place. 

The state police can boast that it has a solving rate of more than double Interpol’s 20% target for last year, but its report card will not inspire confidence among Johoreans and the rest of Malaysia. 

We have to acknowledge that JB has a crime problem, and getting upset over remarks by others that it has these problems will not end our troubles. Don’t shoot the messenger, as they say. 

Crime is today one of the biggest concerns of Malaysians, with most of us sharing stories of experiences involving family members, friends or colleagues. 

Unlike other states, Johor is located next to Indonesia and Singapore with 17 entry and exit points, especially at the ferry terminals. 

Police presence surely needs to be beefed up, particularly at coastal areas, because it is easy for Indonesian criminals to slip in and out undetected.  

More police beats, particularly in the city and neighbourhoods, will help to prevent crime. 

But fighting crime is not just the job of the police. The community must work with the police to make JB a safer place. 

If New York can do it, there is no reason why JB, with the support of the police and public, cannot regain its turf from the criminals.


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