Thursday, December 20, 2007
OVER A CUPPA : Fear and loathing in KL
By HOO BAN KHEE
Merciless criminals seem to be ruling the roost.
BASED on experience, I know that Malaysians usually become nationalistic when they are overseas. Whenever fellow Malaysians come over for a visit, the conversation always gets around to: “So, what’s the latest in Kuala Lumpur?”
Of course, you can always catch up on the latest news on the Internet, via the mainstream media or on other websites.
Besides news and commentaries, we also have e-mails from concerned friends, who warn us about deteriorating public safety in Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley.
Many Malaysians, especially women, feel apprehensive about returning to a society seemingly ruled by snatch thieves, road bullies, rapists, robbers, confidence tricksters and other lawless elements.
Bad things seem to happen everywhere and at every hour of the day. The perpetrators are becoming more ruthless, cruel and blatant.
I used to brush off such reports as an exaggeration or hearsay. I would like to believe that we still live in a society that is more peaceful and orderly than many others in the world.
But with the killing of former Penang chief police officer Datuk Albert Mah in densely populated Petaling Jaya, the rape and murder of eight-year-old Nurin Jazlin Jazimin and numerous other crimes, it seems that I have been living in denial.
Mah’s killers have yet to be arrested, while Nurin’s rapist/murderer is still at large. The police are nowhere near solving the cases despite their efforts and promises. The perpetrators have no mercy and don’t deserve any.
It cannot be denied that Malaysians feel threatened. Killers, robbers and rapists are in our midst and waiting to strike.
There is usually a public outcry in the wake of a serious crime. Sometimes, dialogues are held between the local community and senior police personnel. But this kind of feeble response does little to address social ills. Crimes are still being committed, almost with impunity. Most perpetrators get off scot-free and continue their heinous acts.
Even in my usually quiet and peaceful suburban neighbourhood, there has been a spate of robberies that have left many living in fear.
Robbers broke into two houses. Besides loss of cash and valuables, one of the house owners was hurt. The robberies seem to be the work of the same gang which has been active in the area. A sense of helplessness prevails.
A few months ago, a row houses was burgled. The crooks carted off all the shoes left outside the house, branded or not. Even my not-so-expensive made-in-China footwear was not spared.
Following these incidents, safety measures were taken by the residents to enhance security in the neighbourhood. Alarms were installed, fencing reinforced and even extra lighting was added.
This leads me to the solitary lamp post standing like a sore thumb in my neighbourhood. To call it a lamp post is actually a misnomer since it’s not installed with a lamp.
But it is not entirely useless. It serves as a convenient signpost. People post all kinds of notices on it.
At night, it presides over a dark corner in an otherwise well-lit road. Perhaps Tenaga Nasional should take steps to rectify the situation before burglars strike again. Besides, it does not look good topless
- Published in The Star on Monday, December 17, 2007