We Need the Laws if We Want Less Crime

I refer to the letter on preventive laws for crime prevention by Associate Professor Dr P. Sundramoorthy and his research team from Universiti Sains Malaysia (NST, June 25).

They have asked Malaysian citizens the pertinent question: to what extent are we willing to give up safety for the sake of liberty and democracy?

As a Malaysian serving on the Selangor Crime Prevention Foundation, I will, without doubt, opt for a little less liberty and democracy and more safety and security. For what is liberty and democracy worth when we have no freedom from fear?

The research team has shown that there has been a surge of violent crime allegedly perpetuated by about 2,000 hard-core criminals released after the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance last year. These violent crimes were carried out by secret societies, organised syndicates and repeat offenders, who were often able to escape arrest and justice.

The only way to reduce crime is to give the police the necessary powers of preventive detention of hard-core criminals. However, unlike the Emergency Ordinance, we must have more safeguards against possible police abuses.

Unless we introduce new laws pertaining to preventive detention with adequate safeguards, we would most likely see a rise in violent crime. Already Kuala Lumpur has been described as one of the 10 most dangerous cities in the world in an international survey.

I, therefore, appeal to the authorities to support and implement the recommendations by the research team for better laws to fight crime more effectively, before we are overcome by a greater fear of more violent crime and consequent social unrest.

Article published in The New Straits Times.

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