Honesty needed in tackling crime, police abuse
Double-speak, shading the truth or plain lies may win legislators, politicians and enforcement agencies some breathing space and positive headlines in the discredited mainstream media. But it does little to win over the majority of Malaysians who come face to face with crime and graft daily.
So how about starting over again? Has crime in Malaysia gone down or is it climbing steadily? Note to Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi: you cannot have it both ways.
In Parliament a few days ago, Zahid said that the increase in the crime index recently was due to the abolition of the Emergency Ordinance (EO), legislation which allowed the government to detain gangsters and hardened criminals without trial.
But as DAP's Tony Pua pointed out, the crime index was the highest in 2008 and 2009 when the EO was still in effect but supposedly fell by 76 per cent last year after the Najib administration repealed the law.
In short, there does not appear to be a direct link between abolishing the EO and rising crime as alleged by Zahid and the police.
If few believe statistics trotted out by Zahid and his ilk it is because skeptical Malaysians have been fed a diet of highly fanciful figures on crime by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit led by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala.
Two years before the elections, Malaysians were told that crime had dropped drastically, and now suddenly there is a surge in crime. This neat packaging of facts fits snugly with the government's narrative that the abolition of the EO has resulted in the increase in crime. Never mind the gaping hole in this yarn.
Similarly, there is a lack of honesty in the debate about the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), the body recommended by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police that was set up in 2004.
The only reason the weak Abdullah administration were unwilling to set up the commission was because it feared backlash from the police force.
The then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wanted to improve the image of the police force but did not have the political will to take on and defeat special interest groups within the police - groups which warned the government that the IPCMC would result in sagging morale of police personnel.
Never mind what the country or Malaysians wanted. Abdullah backed off and the IPCMC proposal collected dust.
What came out of it was the very much diluted Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) that was eventually only staffed by one investigator.
Now, complaints and custodial deaths remain on the rise as much as crime does, and the police say the only way is to have laws that keep bad hats off the streets.
But what about the IPCMC? There is talk now that it is unconstitutional but that was not the reason to reject it when it was mooted by the commission headed by the former Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah.
Wouldn't he know what was proposed and recommended is within the ambit of the law? It would appear that some government leaders are just clutching at straws to justify rejecting the IPCMC.
Both reflect the dishonesty in the country, at the expense of the very people that the government says it cares for and defends in the marathon to a developed nation by 2020. - July 11, 2013.