By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — Pemandu insisted today that the crime rate has been drastically reduced, pointing instead to “unfortunate” media coverage as the cause for heightened concerns over public safety.
Several high-profile kidnappings and two assaults in the Klang Valley, one leaving a teacher fighting for her life, have led the opposition to question Putrajaya’s efficiency unit’s claim that crime dropped by 11.1 per cent last year with street crime falling by 39.7 per cent in the last two years.
“If you divide by 365 days in a year, you have an average of 430 stories a day. You can more than fill the entire newspaper with crime,” Pemandu chief executive Datuk Seri Idris Jala (picture) said, referring to the 157,891 reports of crime last year.
The minister in the prime minister’s department said it was “unfortunate” that the media has reported the crime rate has increased when in 2009 there were 209,825 reports.
“I wish this (the reduction) was the story (in the media). When people tell me about a crime, I say I can tell them there are another 157,000 crimes. The point is it has reduced, but not to zero,” the senator added.
Datuk Seri Naib Razak said earlier this week that more must be done to increase public safety, two days after Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein insisted that two recent violent incidents were not indicative of a rising crime rate.
The point is [the crime rate] has reduced, but not to zero. — Idris Jala
The prime minister gave his assurance that the government was concerned with “all kinds of violence, including against women”, despite saying that the country’s general crime rate has dipped considerably.
But Hishammuddin had earlier insisted that the country’s crime rate is not on the rise despite growing concern over public safety, saying that two recent violent crime cases were “isolated” incidents.
“The numbers have not increased from the past. One or two cases... you show me one country where there is no kidnapping.
“Don’t exploit [the incidents] to make this something political,” he had told reporters, referring to Saturday’s assault and mugging of Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat.
Wong was left bloodied after being attacked while jogging in Petaling Jaya, while teacher Teoh Soo Kim, 51, is fighting for her life after suffering severe head injuries during her abduction nine days ago.
Besides the two bloody attacks last week, a spate of kidnap attempts has raised concern over public safety.
A 12-year-old in Ipoh and a 20-something in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya narrowly escaped abduction in the past week, episodes that followed after the high-profile ransom case of 12-year-old Dutch national Nayati Moodliar, which gained international media coverage.