Monday, May 28, 2007

Johor a safe haven?

The Malaysian government has been going on the offensive to show that it's determined to fight crimes in the country, especially in crime-infested Johor which is next to Singapore.

According to reports, the southern state of Johor actually saw a drop of 8.9 per cent so far this year in serious crimes such as murders, muggings and extortion. Property crimes such as carjackings and burglaries dropped by 6.73 per cent in the same period.

Well, dad and I are not totally convinced that the crime rate in the state is on a real downward trend. Not when crime rates in the state had gone up by double-digit rates in the past. Even the fuming Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum (NST Pix) accused the police of manipulating crime rate figures to confuse the public, according to New Straits Times last month.

A report even said that the crime rate in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur shot up by a mind-boggling 40 per cent in the first three months of this year. And KL seems like a safer place than Johor Baru as there are more transient residents and visitors in the latter.

No doubt, Malaysia is trying to contain the crime situation in Johor as the federal and state governments step up efforts to woo Singapore and other foreign investors to the Iskandar Development Region.

But as mentioned in an earlier posting, former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew was definitely correct when he said in a defamation suit in 1997 that Johor was "notorious for shootings, muggings and car-jackings".

So dad will remain sceptical about the current blitz against crime until he is certain that he can drive in JB, KL or elsewhere in Malaysia without having to lock his car, like in Singapore.


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