Tuesday 4 September 2012

Retract bogus safety claim, MP tells PEMANDU

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Opposition lawmaker Tony Pua today accused the government’s efficiency unit PEMANDU of laying a bogus claim to Malaysia being the safest country in the region and urged it to take back the declaration which, he said, was based on misleading crime data.

He also urged the government agency to revamp its entire crime reporting and evaluation system for an accurate depiction of the real crime situation in the country instead of focusing on battling negative public perception on domestic security.

“PEMANDU must retract its bogus claim of Malaysia being Southeast Asia’s safest country by using misleading and manipulated crime statistics,” Pua (picture), the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, said in a statement.

The agency had boasted of Malaysia being ranked the “most peaceful” and “safest nation” in Southeast Asia and fourth safest in the Asia-Pacific, ahead of Singapore and just behind New Zealand, Japan and Australia, in the fifth edition of the Global Peace Index 2011 in its Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Annual Report the same year as well as in presentations, Pua noted.

He also noted PEMANDU had claimed credit for Malaysia being “ranked the safest country among 19 upper-middle-income countries by the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2011”.

But the DAP publicity chief insisted that such claims were negligible in the face of allegations raised last month by an anonymous letter writer, under the pseudonym Sumun Osram, who claimed to be a policeman, that the government’s crime statistics had been manipulated to paint a rosier image of domestic security.

“The recent expose accused the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) of manipulating crime statistics to present an artificial picture of the crime situation in Malaysia was confirmed with the data provided by PDRM,” Pua said.

He said based on police statistics, official crime statistics had dropped from a total 209,572 cases in 2007 to 157,891 in 2011, or 24.7 per cent within the four-year period.

“However, this was achieved at the expense of the unpublished ‘non-index crime’, which increased from 42,752 to 72,106 or a massive 68.7 per cent over the same period,” Pua said.

In Malaysia, the police divide crime into two categories, index and non-index — the former defined as crime that is reported with sufficient regularity and significance to be a meaningful indicator of the crime situation while the latter is regarded as minor in nature.

He urged the government’s efficiency agency to stop “crowing” about its “bogus” achievements in battling crime and buckle down to overhauling its entire crime reporting and evaluation mechanism.

“PEMANDU must immediately recommend the scrapping of the ludicrous official ‘index crime’ and the hidden ‘non-index crime’ classifications which are clearly subjected to manipulation and to artificially improve ‘perception’ among Malaysians,” he said.

PEMANDU has had to repeatedly defend itself from public criticism after a spate of crime incidents that seemed to contradict the image painted by its crime statistics.

The agency, along with the police and Home Ministry, has 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 national key results areas (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 compared with the same period last year.

The agency 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.

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