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7th Rangers: Is public and citizens' safety a private responsibility?


 
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Is public and citizens' safety a private responsibility?
Friday, April 26, 2013
By J. D. Lovrenciear

A jog in the park can cause your life. Your driving to work can spell disaster for the entire family. Parking in the basement can rob you of your virginity if not your limbs. Sleeping at home can bring misfortune and financial setbacks. Yes, public safety is a major concern that citizens have been grappling with for far too long. Unfortunate for the voters, your safety has been made out to be your sole and private responsibility.

BN leaders and through their top civil servant as well as media mouth-pieces have often warned citizens that we must exercise greater care and caution when going to the park; when out shopping; when parking in basements of malls; when reaching and leaving our gated-dwellings. Endless warnings and advise each time a heinous crime makes it to the media. Well now with the most unfortunate and totally uncalled for shooting of a senior civil servant on the way to the office, what will our leaders preach? That we must be careful on the way to work too?

Or will they admonish us not to politicize the unsafe conditions under which citizens live? Perhaps they will splash some more statistics and joyfully say, ā€œour crime rate has been drastically reducedā€. May be they will sweep it all away with that infamous and often quoted statement, "This is an isolated incident". But let us get real. Just as foreing nationals can get bombed away, citizens too have every reason to feel unsafe - at home, at work or in public places. 

Are our homes not barricaded with iron and steel grills, gates and fencing? How many of our homes even feature padlocked grills to the trap door on the ceiling? On top of that we even have to invest in CCTVs and alarm systems of sorts. By comparison, none of our friends in neighboring countries live like this. Why?

No small wonder then why property developers are minting these days with their ā€˜Gated and Guardedā€™ exclusive homes for a ā€˜Peaceful sleepā€™ projects. How many of us have fallen victim to car or motorbike thefts? And that too despite having multiple security features from door to booth to windscreen and glass breakin-security. Even your player has to be bolted with password, mind you. Right?

How many women these days do not dare carry handbags to public places ā€“ let alone when going to work? And if they do, how many of them consciously and even subconsciously clutch their bags tight under their armpits? No? Let us not kid, ladies say your piece, please. How many dads and moms will let their daughters go to the park for a run or healthy exercise ā€“ even in their own tamans unescorted?

Why do we citizens have to live in so much of fear and be surrounded with so much of risk after over five decades of the worldā€™s longest serving political party that forms the government every five years without fail? Or are we not to mix politics, governance and public safety? Some heads of NGOs on the payroll of the government even can advocate that pedestrians must enhance vigilance. How much Sirs?

Leaving our handbags behind; clutching tight our personal belongings under armpits; avoiding the parks; bolting our homes; investing in alarm systems for our vehicles; locking our scooters to drain covers with chains; looking over our backs in public streets ā€“ all of these is not enough vigilance? And now in the wake of the brutal shooting of our top civil servant who was been driven to work - and right here in the vicinity of the nationā€™s most secure Putrajaya, we need to ask:

Is public safety solely a private responsibility? Or shall we rephrase it: Should we hold BN responsible for all the crimes and risks that citizens have to shoulder at their own cost, own risk and own initiative and yet not be assured of their personal safety in public places and at home? When citizens cannot feel safe in their own homes, and when our lives are at huge risks in public places, it simply means that there is a degree of negligence and omission on the part of the political party that has been given the mandate to govern all these years.

That is not politicizing crime. It is basic accountability.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 8:44 PM  
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