How bad is the crime rate in Malaysia? The government recently released the official crime figures for 2007 and there appeared to be contracting reports from the local media.
The Star on 10 January 2008 reported (by Lourdes Charles) that the crime index increased by 7% last year but the number of violent crimes, especially armed robberies and robberies without firearms, dropped significantly.
The NST reported that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the number of serious crimes increased by 13.36 per cent nationwide last year, with gang robbery without the use of firearms rising by more than 159 per cent.
Such contradicting reports leaves us wondering which report is more accurate. Logically, we could conclude that the NST report is more accurate as it is very unlikely that a certain type of crime could dropped significantly when the overall index is up.
However both English dailies failed to elaborate on the seriousness of the situation? There weren’t any comparison with previous statistics. How many men in the street would bother looking up the previous year’s figures?
Mr. Lim Kit Siang tried to show in his blog that the crime rate has shot up 45% since 2003 comparing the 2003 statistics of 156,315 cases with the 224,298 cases in 2007. The purpose of his comparison is merely to discredit Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Mr. Lim failed to give the full picture where the sharpest increases happened during the last 2 years. It was also important to note that we experienced similar sharp increases in 1996 and 1997.
I think a more accurate picture of the overall situation is Malaysia is to go back to 1991 where the crime index was below 70,000 cases. ACP Amar Singh Sidhu’s paper on the rate of crime which was published in the Journal of the Kuala Lumpur Royal Malaysia Police College, No 2, 2005 gives us a clearer picture of the historical year to year increase in the crime rate. From his paper, we could conclude that the crime rate in Malaysia has worsen more than 300% since 1991.
The following graph which has been would give a better picture of the rising crime rate in Malaysia.
To sum the on the current crime rate, I think it is best to describe from last year’s statistics of 588 murder cases and 3,177 rape cases that;
Every day, more than one person was murdered (1.6 per day)
Every day, more than eight women were raped (8.7 per day)
Will it be any different one year from now? Unless there is :-
A real fundamental change in the running of the police force
An overall revamp of the immigration policy.
An overhaul of the anti-corruption agency.
I don’t see it to be any different, one year from now.
We have actually heard this same old story before. One year ago, The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili on 31 Jan 2007, expressed the government’s concern when the crime index increased to 198,622 cases from 171,604 cases in 2005. After such alarming figures in 2006, what has the government done? The crimes cases shot up to 224,298 cases in 2007 despite the concerns voiced.
Will 2008 proved to be different?
Will money spent on new CCTVs and new police training centres in Bentong and Langkawi help? We can buy the latest technology in CCTV or build the biggest training centre in the world but if there is no change in overall running of the police force, I don’t have much optimism for 2008.