Sunday 16 September 2012

Add one more crime to disturbing statistics: Aliran office broken into — P. Ramakrishnan

SEPT 16 — At around 9.00am on Tuesday, 11 September 2012, we discovered that the Aliran office had been broken into. The perpetrators had gained entry from the back portion of the building through the window by removing the grille. They unlocked the wooden door from within the ground floor and proceeded to the first floor. They prised open the secured wooden door upstairs and entered the first floor.

The building wasn’t ransacked;, nothing was strewn on the floor. They did a very neat job. According to the carpenter who came later to repair and fix the damage, these culprits had to be professionals because they did not cause severe damage to gain entry. He also revealed that his boss’ house was broken into two months ago. He lost three laptops and cash.

The loss that we discovered was amazing and somewhat startling. The notebook belonging to the current president of Aliran (Francis Loh) was stolen. The computer set and the printer belonging to the immediate past president (P Ramakrishnan) were stolen. The computer set used by the treasurer (Anil Netto) was also stolen. All these are old computers. But strangely two other computers used by the clerk were left behind! There was also RM26.90 in one of the drawers but this was not touched.

We made a police report and were told to go back and wait for one Sergeant Karim who would investigate and take a statement from us. Sergeant Karim came sometime later informing us that he was at the Jelutong Secondary School immediately behind the Aliran office investigating another break-in there. We were informed that burglars had carted away computer equipment (laptop, projector) and cash from the school.
The police dusted the Aliran office for finger prints without success, took pictures of the break in and took our statement. They were of the opinion that the burglars could have gone to the school after the Aliran break-in.

Cash-strapped as we are, we feel the financial strain arising from the loss of our computers. But we are no stranger to this situation. We have always been struggling on a shoe-string budget. The struggle will continue.
Much has been said about the reduction in crime rates to assure the populace that the security situation in the country is improving. Statistics are trotted out to convince Malaysians that the improving crime situation is no idle talk.

But Malaysians remain cynical and unconvinced. They hear of so many crimes taking place in their neighbourhood which go unreported. There are Malaysians who are reluctant to make police reports on the perceived premise that nothing is done or can be done to bring the culprits to book. They rationalise that it is a waste of time reporting.

But it is a fact, it seems, crimes take place on a daily basis across the country. People no longer feel safe.

The fear is always present that they may be robbed or accosted or assaulted.. They feel intimidated.

This is the reality.

Malaysians argue that the police go after the opposition with a determined purpose for any infringement of the law, however remote or mild, but this vigorous pursuit is lacking when ordinary Malaysians are victims of crimes. They contend that instead of deploying thousands of police personnel as was done during the Bersih 3.0 rally or any opposition centred activities, these personnel should be out in the streets ensuring our safety and security. —

* P Ramakrishnan is an Aliran executive committee.

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