MARAH (Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & snatcH) members share their feedback on crime issues
Every taman should have an active police pondok and the policemen on duty should make their presence felt rather than just sit in the pondok.
MARAH understands that no mall/building can assure 100% safety of its patrons. It’s ultimately our own responsibility to be alert and vigilant.
However, mall car park robberies can easily be stopped by making the mall and parking management take the responsibility for the security of their visitors and tenants.
Firstly, ensure that they have adequate security. Secondly, ensure that their guards are aware of their responsibilities – that is to protect the safety of all patrons to their premises. And last but certainly not least, ensure that the people they hire to handle incidents like these know what they are talking about and understand how to deal with victims of such incidents in a timely and proper manner.
They should be better trained to handle such situations and to empathize with the victims, not make excuses, shift blame, try covering it up etc.
Malls should also hire qualified guards, not foreign workers who can’t speak a word of English. Ex-army or ex-policemen are preferred. Currently there are no specific requirements for the hiring of these guards and hence the above-mentioned problems. To ensure quality, there must be enforcement and regular checks by the respective government agency on these security companies.
The police have to engage more often with shopping mall security management in these respective areas.
Car park operators
Most, if not all, car park operators insist that parking in their premises is at the user’s risk. They hide behind this multipurpose catchphrase.
Thus, the burden of responsibility for the safety of the car park is not placed on its operator, but on the user. While everyone should try to be aware of their surroundings, the operator must be responsible and provide a safe environment and the government is obliged to ensure this.
MARAH calls on the government and local authorities to enact and enforce mandatory regulations on security measures that all owners and operators of public spaces must comply with.
MARAH also advocates dedicated women-only parking spots located next to lifts and elevators but questions the effectiveness of these measures without enforcement given the kiasu attitude of most Malaysians.
A recent observation made by a local paper found that these parking spots assigned for single female drivers or families with toddlers, were often abused by inconsiderate Malaysians who disregard the importance of safety of those who need it the most.
MARAH emphasises the importance of having CCTVs in car parks, better enforcement of the law against culprits and more citizen initiatives to prevent crime against women.
Our National Service should be revamped to include at least 50% community policing, 30% safety knowledge lectures and team-building activities and perhaps 20% on technical and practical know-how of armaments and self-defense.
In this way, youths at this impressionable age are guided not to get involved in crime; in fact they probably may get a chance to be a hero in fighting crime. This is important for the psychology and self-esteem of the youth.
The abundant energy of the youths are also tapped for community service immediately and can be put to practice throughout their lives via their own Rukun Tetangga in the future, and not some 3 months misadventure to be retold as bedtime stories in their later lives.
It will also help to instill a good relationship between the police and community.
Malaysia probably faces more challenges in overcoming everyday crime than actual invasion of a foreign power, thus our National Service should be tailored to such needs. This also helps to give a boost to the existing volunteer community policing efforts.
The Police MyDistress smartphone app currently only applies to Selangor. We need to expand it to Wilayah Kuala Lumpur and subsequently to the entire Malaysia as well.
Four years ago, when Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak singled out reducing street crime as one of his priorities, The Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu) identified a way of doing so – by redeploying underutilised police personnel to “hot” crime zones.
It worked because the mere presence of uniformed policemen frightened off would-be criminals like snatch thieves from the area. The time has come for Pemandu to do the same for car parks and traffic light junctions. Catching these types of crooks must be made a priority given the current spate of such crimes.
Stationing two policemen – both in uniform on motorcycles at each of these junctions will not be too taxing on the force and would be very effective in cutting down such public crimes.
MARAH would like to take this opportunity to thank Pemandu for engaging us, being receptive and very cooperative to receiving our feedback and we look forward to working together to reduce crime and ensure a safer Malaysia for all.
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Dave Avran is the founder of MARAH (Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & snatcH).