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What has it got to do with race? Lim Mun Fah


J UL Y 1 0, 20 13

Home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who takes pride in being one of very few standing firmly behind the Sedition Act 1948, has made headlines once again for his mind-blowing remarks. He urged the Chinese community to cooperate with the government to battle crime instead of just watching and doing nothing else. My first reaction was: Why the Chinese community? Why didn't he rephrase his sentence this way: All Malaysians should cooperate with the government to battle crime instead of just watching and doing nothing else? A couple of recast words could make a whole world of difference! Battling crime has always been the collective responsibility of the government, the opposition parties, the police as well as the general public, To put it in a more generalised way: Battling crime is everyone's responsibility! Well, we may have different levels of responsibilities owing to the varying roles we play, but it most positively has nothing to do with race. The government's responsibility is to manage the country properly and minimise factors that could have contributed to crime. The government has to draft up laws to deal with elements of crime while making sure the police are doing their jobs protecting the public. The opposition's duty is to oversee the government and police while offering workable solutions to tackle crime and timely reflect the views of the public on the same. The police's obligation is to step up operational efficiency, weed out corruption and fight crime in a bid to protect the citizens.

The general public, meanwhile, have the responsibility of enhancing preventive measures, educating their children not to get involved in unlawful acts while promptly lodging police reports and providing essential clues to help the police resolve the cases in the event of crime . In fact, the part played by the general public is of paramount importance, without which the police would be handicapped in resolving the cases. The problem now is: Are the public reluctant to cooperate with the police or are there some real issues with regard to the attitude of police personnel? The chronic corruption issue has long dented the image of our police force, resulting in public distrust towards the police. Failing to rectify this problem will not help improve the police's image and public faith. In addition, poor efficiency has also plagued the police force for years: the police arriving late after a break-in alert has been made, advising the victim of passport theft to report as negligent loss to avoid trouble, or refusing to take up a case seen as "too petty." Such complaints are no more a novelty and it is imperative that the police look into the issue with due seriousness. Four days after the house of youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin was broken in by three intruders, the police published the facial composites of two of the suspects. If the police have been treating each and every case with similar seriousness without taking into consideration the varying social status of the victims, the efficiency with which criminal cases are resolved should be remarkably improved. Khairy said the poor public security was not just impression but something very real. Moreover, with the siblings of IGP and DPM all falling victims to crime, it is imperative that the home minister should look into this undeniable fact seriously. In short, the government and police should play dominant roles in crime fighting while the general public play only an auxiliary role. No one should throw all the responsibilities to the people or ethnicise the public security issue. - Sin Chew Daily, July 10, 2013.