The Day I Weep for Malaysia

It is not the criminals who live in fear of being chased; rather it is us the ordinary people who feel insecure all the time because of their presence and because of the apathy of those who are supposed to protect us.

A concerned Malaysian

I woke up in the gloomy morning of September 16, seeing the Prime Minister’s face on the TV screen, describing the importance of celebrating 1Malaysia and its unique diverse cultures. It also happened that my family just returned from Seremban and Johor Bharu after a 4-day Raya holiday.

Actually, none of us were in the mood to celebrate Malaysia Day or whatever you call it, or even to be so excited about Raya. The reason was obvious: our house was broken into, and robbed in broad daylight by two men with a ‘parang’ a day before Raya. Who, with a sane mind, would be in a mood to celebrate anything after such a traumatizing experience?

Crime rates in this country have increased alarmingly for the past decade. Some say it is because of the ever worsening economic conditions and sky-rocketing unemployment (despite the arrogant refusal of the government-controlled media to admit it), and the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. These issues are debatable, but one thing is for sure – the police force is first to be blamed when crimes are out of control. A country’s internal security largely depends on the efficiency of its police institution. If the policemen are busy with bribes and spend so much time in protecting political interests, the victims are none other than we, the people.

Forget about the gruesome robberies and murders you read in the daily newspaper. Those stories may seem irrelevant to you. What is happening in my very own neighborhood is enough to portray how dangerous and unsafe Malaysia has become, and to what extent the police have failed in maintaining basic security.

My house was robbed a day before Raya and that happened at 2.30pm. The next-door neighbor experienced attempted robberies 2 times. An Indian woman living right in front of my house was once hit by a ‘parang’ (also in broad daylight) after refusing to give money to a robber. Another neighbor in the next block was murdered after fighting a robber. And all these events happened only within a few months’ time!

This shows just how vulnerable we the Malaysians are in our sovereign land. Criminals seem to have gotten the green light to do whatever they want. They rob and murder without fear because they get away easily and are rarely caught or punished. And the reverse has happened. It is not the criminals who live in fear of being chased; rather it is us the ordinary people who feel insecure all the time because of their presence and because of the apathy of those who are supposed to protect us.

What added to my frustration on that unforgettable day was how the policemen reacted. Right after the robbers left, we called the police and despite the very short distance, it took them a long time to come. Upon arrival, the policemen shocked me by giving me the impression that they were not interested in what I was saying.

I described everything in detail, and none of them (there were three of them) looked serious or interested. Nor did they even write anything down. I even gave them part of the motorbike plate number which my brother managed to remember, but they just nodded nonchalantly. Feeling confused, I told them to write it down and only then one of the policemen asked if I had a piece of paper!

I do not know what experience other people have with the police force, but on that very day I realized the pitiable condition of the police force and how much reform and training they need!

To those who read this story, I would like to warn you: be very careful and take all precautions day and night. You might be the next victim, as unfortunate events often happen when you least expect it. And when they do, you may not be able to rely much on the police.

I used to weep for the Palestinians when reading news on the Zionists’ aggression. And I used to weep for Iraq and Afghanistan seeing how innocent women and children are being killed by the Western troops. But today I realize that given the unsafe and fearful conditions in which we Malaysians are living, the difference is only in degree. That is why today I weep for Malaysia.


A concerned Malaysian