By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — Repeated sharing of crime news on Facebook and Twitter is creating a false impression that Malaysia is unsafe and is impeding the police in getting accurate figures on crime, the government’s newly-minted chief in charge of cutting down crime told Sin Chew Daily in an interview published today.
Former Penang police chief Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob told the widely read Chinese-language daily that the sharing of news online had contributed to the public’s impression of a high crime rate that was not a true reflection of events.
“One person mentions a crime case, that is only one case, but with the convenience of he Internet, everyone clicks a ‘share’ button, 100 people share (it online), others seeing it will think 100 crime cases have happened,” Ayub was quoted by the paper as saying.
His statements come almost a week after he was appointed chairman of the federal government’s National Key Results Area (NKRA) secretariat aimed to tackle national security issues in the face of mounting fears over public safety on the streets and at home.
Ayub replaces Datuk Abu Samah Mat, who is now Bukit Aman CID deputy director (Investigation/Legal).
The civil servant noted that some victims choose to share their experiences on social networking websites instead of making police reports, saying that this prevents the police from getting accurate news.
Ayub told Sin Chew that crime statistics should not be based on the number of police reports alone.
He told the paper the police “will set up a more systematic website to collect public opinion and set up more channels to report crime”.
“No matter what, our biggest goal now is to let the people feel that being in Malaysia is the safest, it’s not easy to restore the people’s confidence, the most pressing thing is to reduce crime rate,” the former policeman was quoted as saying.
“I don’t dare to say that we want to get zero crime rate, that is not possible, even if we spend a lot of money on installing close circuit televisions (CCTVs), no country can have a perfect society with zero crime rate.”
He was reported previously to have said that crime statistics do not reflect the actual situation, adding that the real challenge for the police was in ensuring the public feels safe.
Last month, the federal government’s efficiency unit PEMANDU defended itself from public criticism after the recent spate of crime incidents seem to contradict with the image painted by its crime statistics.
The agency, along with the police and Home Ministry, had continued to stand by its claim that the country’s crime rate has dipped considerably since initiatives under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) were put in place two years ago.
PEMANDU’s crime reduction NKRA director Eugene Teh had in July released fresh statistics to show that index crime in Malaysia dropped by 10.1 per cent from January to May this year when compared to the same period last year.
PEMANDU had earlier released figures to show that index crime had dropped by 11.1 per cent from 2010 to last year while street crime dipped 39.7 per cent in the same period.
Opposition politicians have accused the federal government of being preoccupied with spying on the public and tackling negative perceptions of the authorities poor skills in cutting down crime than the actual combat, pointing to the lopsided budget for criminal investigations.