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Crime experts not consulted by govt

 | August 3, 2012

The government has been criticised for failing to speak to researchers and relevant parties before coming up with laws to fight crime.

PETALING JAYA: The government has so far failed to consult some of the relevant stakeholders when introducing new laws concerning crime or amending current legislation, according to a criminologist.

These groups include people such as academicians, researchers, policemen, prison workers and other experts such as psychologists and victims, said Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat from Universiti Sains Malaysia, who is also psychologist.

“There should be more communication and sharing in knowledge before the government review or comes up with new laws. Currently, its very rare that people like us are consulted.

“They usually call in lawyers, people in power, who have limited exposure on the subject but not those who are actually on the ground,” she said.

Geshina said people who actually face criminals on a day-to-day basis such as policemen, prison officers and workers helping sex abuse victims, who should by right provide their input are not even considered.

“We see acts being renewed based on what they perceive as what is good practice, and it may not be contextualised it into the local context. We should think more carefully coming out with laws, and involve more expertise, compared to what is currently being done, which is insufficient.”

As a result of this, she said, the government would sometimes miss out on the “wider implications” of the laws that are being proposed.

“Without opening it up to other agencies. You would not get the whole picture. I’m sure there are vested interests, as in there are people there who already know what they want to put in the law. But whether it is appropriate to the victim, or the criminal or used in the Malaysian context?”

She said that another thing that was still sorely lacking is research and finding out ways to counter crime.

“We need more research on things such as the effectiveness of security guards, CCTVs, the collection of evidence… How different crime needs different ways to counter. It is slowly getting there but not enough,” she said.

Geshina noted that Institut Sosial Negara, Social Welfare Department and Women, Family and Community Development Ministry are doing some studies but sadly these information are not commonly made public. She said that the Public Services Department is trying to compile all these statistics.

“These things are done but does not reach the normal guy on the street. That is lacking,” she said, adding that criminologists were also very few in the country, being less than 10 currently.

Also read:

Crime expert: Let’s retake our streets


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