Tuesday, 12 November 2013

How much does a life mean in Malaysia?

How much does a life mean to you ?

It is Visit Malaysia Year 2014 next year. There are many nice places and events to see in Malaysia. However, there are also many other shocking events that have not been reported as clearly and fairly as they should have been in Malaysia. While you visit Malaysia in 2014, you may be in for some surprises or exciting news which are not part of your planned itinerary. Mind you, they are not necessarily all bad. Some are of course worse than others.

Before I start, let me highlight that Malaysia is allegedly the safest country in Southeast Asia, according to the Malaysian Government. Several key Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, who have repeatedly said this. Who are we to doubt them?

DEATH by Illegal Guns

In this safest country, the Malaysian Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi officially reported in the Parliament that 74 people have been shot dead from January to August in 2013. 8 months for 74 violent deaths caused by gunshots alone. Let me remind you that possession of firearms in Malaysia is a serious criminal offense penalized with capital punishment. Hence, carrying a firearm without license means death penalty in Malaysia. Do you wonder how did those murderers obtain the guns to carry out the shootings? Are you curious too?

The Home Minister attributed the availability of firearms to smuggling from neighboring countries, putting the blame on Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. There would not have been any unlicensed firearms in Malaysia if not for those neighboring countries which are adjacent to part of Malaysia. He talked as if Malaysia did not have any effective border controls, no customs officers, or any other enforcement against smuggling. Despite that, this is also the same Home Minister who will tell you that Malaysia is the safest country in Southeast Asia, regardless. What do you have to say, Singaporean Prime Minister?

DEATH by Legal Guns

There are other form of deaths caused by human act in Malaysia. Recently, a Malaysian security guard shot a bank officer of a Malaysian bank called AmBank and robbed the bank. The security guard used a legal pump-gun given by his employer, which was a security firm owned by a UMNO leader. The irony was that the security guard was stationed by his employer to enforce security for that bank. UMNO is the dominant party of the ruling coalition in Malaysian Government.

It had been reported that the security guard was holding a fake Malaysian identification card (I/C). The security firm had not done any check on the biodata of the guard before recruitment. Puzzling?  Initially, the Malaysian Government dominated by UMNO had refused to reveal the name of the security firm and its owner. Despite the firm causing death, the security firm was only issued a show cause letter. The firm replied and no further action was taken. Due to subsequent public outrage and immense criticism from the opposition leaders, Malaysian Govt had finally suspended the security firm, Kawalan Prima Sdn Bhd. However, no one has been penalized for the cause of this death.

Update: A man suspected to be the security guard killing the AmBank officer was reported to be arrested on Nov 10, 2014. The man has not been charged in court as yet. Charging a person in court for murder or corruption in Malaysia does not necessarily mean a conviction. You only need to look at or google the case of Altantuya and Ling Liong Sik PKFX to understand this. Hence, CID director, Hadi Ho Abdullah might have gone overboard to claim, "Police believe with the arrest of the suspect, the case has been solved."

Malaysia have been made famous over the years for its custodial deaths in governmental institutions. There is a long list of death caused by some kind of weapons in governmental custody, only known to the government officials. Several news of high profile deaths like Ahmad Sabarni, A Kugan, Teoh Beng Hock, C Sugumar, Chew Shiang Giap can be easily obtained on the internet. You should read more to understand the exact situation better. I list below a few of the relevant links in the following:


DEATH by Legal Water?

It does not take firearms or weapons to kill someone in Malaysia. 3 persons died and 1 was missing in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia last month. Water was released from a hydro-electric dam managed by Tenaga Nasional Bhd, a Malaysian power utility, at about midnight after only 20 minutes of siren as warning. Most of the villagers were still sleeping and had not got sufficient time to react to the siren. In addition to loss of human lives, the man-made flood also destroyed 80 houses and 100 vehicles. A man-made disaster really.

The Malaysian power utility claimed that the release of water and the warning given were in compliance with their standard operating procedures (SOP). Hence, any negligence, recklessness or failure of duty is ruled out by the power utility. SOP are meant for good operating practices. We can only hope that there are not so many SOP in this world which are as deadly as Tenaga Nasional Bhd's SOP.

Malaysian Government had earlier withheld a RM40 million funding to deepen and broaden Bertam river which could have prevented this tragedy. The loss of lives, houses and vehicles could really have been avoided if Bertam river was sufficiently deep and broad. As announced by its Prime Minister, Malaysian Government has finally agreed to the allocation to increase the depth and breadth of Bertam river after the disaster.

The Prime Minister Najib has been known to be very generous in granting government money to voters in his infamous style of 'you help me, i help you'. Residents and voters in Cameron Highland had indeed voted for Barisan Nasional, which is Najib's ruling coalition, in the general election earlier this year. Why did Najib neglect these people's safety and well-being?

Please allow me to repeat this: How much does a life mean to you in Malaysia?

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