|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
care and caution when going to the park; when out shopping; when parking
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, “our crime rate has been drastically
reduced”. 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
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 ‘Gated and Guarded’ exclusive homes for a ‘Peaceful sleep’ 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 – 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 – 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 world’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 – 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 nation’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.