PETALING JAYA, Dec 28 ― Malaysia’s high crime rate is due to the close ties between the country’s top brass and underworld kingpins, former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan has alleged.
“When criminals are close to the ‘higher-ups’, those who are betrayed are society,” he told The Malaysian Insider in a recent interview, without disclosing any identities.
An increasing number of Malaysians are alarmed over their safety at home and on the street, leading them to question the Najib administration’s trumpeting of its success in cutting down crime, which is fast turning into a key electoral issue in the run-up to polls.
Recently, the Malaysian Crime Watch Task Force (MyWatch), a crime watchdog linked to Musa, alleged that top police officers were involved in money laundering, illegal gambling, prostitution, football bookmaking and had direct links with underworld figures.
The high crime rate was directly related to the fertilisation of vice syndicates dealing in gambling, prostitution and illegal money-lending, Musa told The Malaysian Insider, backing the watchdog’s allegation.
He noted the domino effect of one vice activity on another, saying the crime problem will not be resolved unless the root cause was weeded out.
“Crime is like a wheel. If vice activities like gambling, prostitution, loan sharks exist, there will be crime. For example, when someone loses at gambling, they start robbing. Crime will never end if vice activities continue to exist.
“One way is as I suggested previously, the government should give licences in some places, like Holland,” he said, referring to the Netherlands’ licensed red light district for prostitution, adding that “People would be shy to even go.”
Musa said chief among the reasons for the government’s failure to convince the public they were safe was because it focused too much on street crime and not combating overall crime.
“Bigger crimes like break-ins, robberies, carjackings and murders. The overall must be taken into account. This is what is causing society to feel unsafe,” he said.
To cut the crime rate, Musa suggested the police work with the public to strengthen its intelligence gathering efforts.
“For example, when the public tells me of a crime, I will convey the message to the police officer in charge. This is an example of intelligence we can get from society,” he said.
MyWatch questioned what it called the inaction and silence of the current IGP in the face of evidence of misconduct, which the group said it would provide the authorities unless Tan Sri Ismail Omar agrees to meet with them.
Following his revelation, Musa and MyWatch had been criticised by a number of former public figures including former Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) director Datuk Ramli Yusuff, former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) panel adviser Tan Sri Robert Phang, and ex-Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim.
Several high-profile kidnappings, robberies and assault cases, including increased gun use, have led opposition lawmakers and the public to question Putrajaya’s efficiency unit’s 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.
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 rather than addressing crime, pointing to the lopsided budget for criminal investigations.
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.
The Najib administration has also accused the media of playing up crime reports and insisted the cases were isolated and did not accurately portray an upward rise in crime nationwide.