Article contributed by Anusha Gopala Krishnan, Officer, Safer Malaysia Committee, and photos by Jul Indra Tofan, Administrative Assistant, Bar Council
On 23 Aug 2014, the Centre for Defence and International Security Studies (“CDISS”) of the National Defence University of Malaysia organised a roundtable on “Safer Malaysia: Crime Prevention is Everyone’s Business” to initiate a pre-conference discussion on issues related to crimes that are plaguing the country and to find a solution to the same. The roundtable provided a platform for stakeholders, such as the Royal Malaysia Police; Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia; local authorities; the Prison Department of Malaysia as well as representatives of various communities; to voice out their concerns. Among the many concerns raised included the facts and figures on how safe the country is and perception of the public on safety.
Members of the roundtable unanimously agreed that a one-day conference that allowed expert opinions to be discussed in depth and to generate a work plan to address the crime problem for recommendation to the relevant government agencies should be held in the year 2015.
In this regard, the Bar Council Safer Malaysia Committee and the National Defence University of Malaysia jointly organised a conference entitled “Crime Prevention is Everyone’s Business” on 22 Jan 2015. The conference was a platform for invited speakers to share their views in relation to the issue of escalating crime, and offer suggestions or solutions to reduce, deter and prevent crime.
The conference was inaugurated by General Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Panglima Hj Zulkifli b Hj Zainal Abidin, Vice-Chancellor of the National Defence University of Malaysia. Shortly after the Vice-Chancellor’s welcoming address, Richard Wee, Co-Chairperson of Bar Council Safer Malaysia Committee delivered the keynote address on “How to Solve Crimes in Malaysia”.
The principal objectives of the conference were to:
(1) allow expert opinions to be heard and discussed on the various issues relating to the crime problem in the country raised at the pre-conference roundtable that was held on 23 Aug 2014; and
(2) table the recommendations and a work plan suggested by the conference participants to lower crime rate and for crime prevention to the relevant authority for consideration.
A total of 248 participants, comprising Members of the Malaysian Bar, academics, officials from the Attorney General’s Chambers, officials from the Judiciary, officials from the local government, the Royal Malaysia Police, Personnel from the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department, officials from the Performance Management Delivery Unit (“PEMANDU”), officials from the Ministry of Education, representatives from the Parent-Teacher Association, related non-governmental organisations (“NGOs”) representing the community, and students of National Defence University of Malaysia, attended the Conference.
The conference was divided into three sessions, with each session featuring a different set of speakers who analysed and deliberated on the various pertinent elements of crime.
The topic of discussion for session A was law and order. In this session, the following speakers discussed the role of law in the fight against crime.
(1) Tan Sri Datuk Robert Phang Miow Sin, Executive Council Member, Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation;
(2) Dato’ Dr Amin Khan, Director GTP-NKRA Unit (Crime), PEMANDU;
(3) Wan Shaharuddin b Wan Ladin, Deputy Public Prosecutor;
(4) ACP Arshad b Hj Abd Jalil, Assistant Director D4 (Intelligence / Operation), Royal Malaysia Police;
(5) PKP Abdul Kadir Jailani b Ismail, Penolong Komisioner Penjara, Prison Department of Malaysia;
(6) Prof Teh Yik Koon, Desk Officer on Social Research, Centre for Defence and International Security Studies, National Defence University of Malaysia; and
(7) Saha Deva A Arunasalam, Co-Deputy Chairperson, Bar Council Safer Malaysia Committee; Member of the Bar.
Chairperson of Session A: Sarah Kambali, Member of the Safer Malaysia Committee and Member of the Bar
Session B was conducted by way of a forum and at the end of the session, the attendees were allowed to pose questions to the speakers. The focus was on the issue of community and security and this topic fell squarely on the crucial area of crime prevention. The speakers shared their insights on community policing and how it can help solve crime.
The panel members of the forum were:
(1) SAC Hjh Fatimah bt Abd Hamid, Principal Assistant Director (Community Policing), Department of Crime Prevention and Community Safety;
(2) Shamsul Sulaiman, member of the Kuala Lumpur Bar currently practising at Putrajaya; former Deputy Public Prosecutor;
(3) Amrit Pal, Member of the Bar; Former Security Chairperson, Bangsar Baru Residents Association;
(4) Thomas Fann, Chairman, ENGAGE;
(5) Dave Avran, Founder, Malaysians Against Rape, Assault and Snatch (“MARAH”); and
(6) Mark Soh Hock Meng, Founder, Malaysian Crime Awareness Campaign (“MCAC”).
Moderator of Session B: Wendy Tan Min Litt, Co-Founder of Malaysian Crime Awareness Campaign (MCAC)
The main focus of session C was on the subject of crime deterrence. The speakers, consisted of representatives of local authorities, spoke about the preventive measures that are in place to reduce the occurrence of crime. The speakers were:
(1) Nazihah bt Jaafar, Penolong Pengarah 3, Jabatan Perancangan Pembangunan;
(2) Abdul Khair b Osman, Penguasa Kanan Bomba 1, Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia; and
(3) Lai Xuenwei, Darren, Co-Chairperson of the Bar Council Safer Malaysia Committee; Member of the Bar.
Chairperson of Session C: David Lim Koo Hing, Member of the Safer Malaysia Committee and Member of the Bar
The organisers believed that the conference successfully addressed the issue of crime and most of the recommendations that are set out in the conference will be approved and implemented in the long term. The organsiers also hoped that this conference will be the catalyst in shifting the participants’ perspective of crime and in promoting crime awareness.
The Bar Council Safer Malaysia Committee records its appreciation to the National Defence University of Malaysia for its efforts and dedication in co-organising this event.