Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gun violence denting Malaysia’s image, says ST

AUGUST 14, 2013
Fear of crime taking over life in Malaysia is not an image the country can live with, said the Singapore Straits Times in an editorial today.

Noting that Malaysians have reason to be unnerved by the surge in shooting incidents, the newspaper noted that "not since pre-independence communist insurgency of the Emergency years have guns become a public concern".

Unlike snatch theft, housebreaking, against which people have become resourceful at protecting themselves, the paper said that Malaysians are unprepared for this level of gun violence.

Malaysia has been caught up in a crime wave with an unprecedented number of brazen shooting incidents. The government and the police blame the surge in violence on dismantling of the Emergency Ordinance, which allowed as many as 2,600 gangsters back onto the streets.

These gangsters are said to be embroiled in battles to reclaim turf. The Opposition, though, believe that police have dropped the ball in the fight against crime, and inordinate resources have been spent on tracking and harassing politicians from the DAP, PKR and PAS.

The Straits Times noted that possession of a firearm carries severe penalties. So, how could guns "have proliferated in spite of sanctions?"

"Obviously the public needs reassuring that this is not the beginning of a new wave of sustained violent crime. Coming on top of the street crime of recent years, a leap to gun violence would make life in urban centres intolerable.

"When motorists look around fearfully at traffic light stops and people think twice about patronising open eating places, it would seem fear has taken over.

"It is not an image one could live with...the people await a response, to get at the source of the gun epidemic and to reinforce a sense of safety, " said the editorial.

The newspaper noted that the government is mulling reinstating detention without trial. It should also consider boosting the number of police personnel and investigative capabilities. - August 14, 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider

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