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Election Watch

A Little Less Liberty for Much More Security

Source: the Sun daily
12th June 2013

I REFER to the forthright letter "What cost crime prevention" (June 25) on preventive laws by Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy and his able research team on crime and policing from Universiti Sains Malaysia.

They have asked Malaysian citizens: "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 much 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 perpetuated by about 2,000 hard core criminals released after the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance last year. These violent crimes were increased by secret societies, organised syndicates and repeat offenders, who are often able to escape arrest and justice.

The only way to reduce crime is to give the police the necessary and limited 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 preventive detention laws with adequate safeguards, we are most likely to see a rise in violent and serious crime. Kuala Lumpur has been described as one of the 10 most dangerous cities in the world by a survey. Surely, we cannot accept that drastic and ugly perception and image, at home and abroad.

I appeal to the authorities, on behalf of those of us who yearn for more safety and security, to urgently support and where possible implement the research team's sound recommendations for better laws to fight crime more effectively, before we are overcome by greater fear of more violent crimes and even the fear of consequent social unrest and instability.

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam

Petaling Jaya

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