Neighbourhoods under siege | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Neighbourhoods under siege
Writer: Fahmi Fadzil
Published: Fri, 28 Oct 2011

OF late I’ve been thinking a lot about neighbourhoods – all these places where we grew up, started our own families, and basically watched the nation go by.

Neighbourhoods are supposed to be safe places. Safe enough that we should be able to let our children wander through the alleys and play by themselves in the fields. Safe enough that we should really be able to leave our doors unlocked during the day, and maybe even at night. Safe enough that we can sleep easy knowing that tomorrow morning, everything in our house would be where they were the night before.

Yet the perception these days is that that is not what our neighbourhoods have become.

Take Taman Tun Dr Ismail (yes, I know, it’s technically KL, yet before 1974 it was Selangor, so can consider it cukup syarat lah). Recently, TTDI residents were shocked to read about the case of six parang-wielding young men on motorbikes who pounced on an unsuspecting victim in the Burhanuddin Helmi area of TTDI at 9.30pm.

Unfortunately for one of them, their unsuspecting victim was none other than an off-duty policeman. When he brought out his pistol, they attempted to flee, yet for one of them it was too late – the policeman opened fire and the robber was killed on the spot.

Incidences like this used to be more regular a few years ago in most parts of TTDI. Residents in neighbouring Bandar Utama and Damansara would vouch the same for their areas as well.

Yet so many months ago, many of these neighbourhoods decided that they had had enough and went on a “gated and guarded scheme” spree. Security booms and checkpoints were erected, residents’ support was canvassed and money collected, and meetings with various local authorities were held.

While I don’t have the official crime statistics, anecdotally many residents in these areas reported fewer incidences of crime, at least in our mailing lists.

Yet such a haphazard approach to neighbourhood security is indicative of a larger systemic problem, and begs the question: “Why are residents relying on other than the police for their security?”

Could it be that we do not have enough police personnel? Evidently not. According to a research paper prepared by Research for Social Advancement (Refsa), our current police officer per capita ratio is just about right: 1 for every 270 Malaysians (Interpol recommends 1:250).

Yet some 41% of these police officers are tasked with management or administration, leaving just about 9,000 police personnel assigned to the crucial Criminal Investigation Department.

So instead of adding 50,000 more personnel – there are such plans in the pipeline – we should be clamouring for the redeployment of police officers!

(As an aside, the Refsa paper Staffing the Police points out that the General Operations Force, which was set up to combat the communist insurgents during Malaya’s Emergency years, has nearly 15,000 personnel.)

What, then, is stopping those in power from such redistribution of resources? I’m not sure, to be honest.

But let’s hope that with PDRM’s move to embrace social media – they already have a Facebook page and have recently started @PDRMsia on Twitter – much more two-way conversations can happen.

So while we cannot immediately do away with the cones, barrels and booms that barricade the outskirts of our neighbourhoods, we also cannot immediately do away with such outsourced security as we would be overly exposing our homes to danger.

What we can do away with, I believe, is the feeling of being powerless to change the condition that we are in.


 Selangor Times



Also by Fahmi Fadzil:

Awaiting local, federal elections

THE Malaysian political scene feels like it fits right in with the work of absurdist playwright Beckett’s play entitled ‘Waiting for Godot’, where two characters – Vladimir and Estragon – wait patiently for the arrival of Godot, who never arrives.

New beginnings

Farewell 2012, Hello 13GE

WHAT a year it has been! Who would’ve thought that much of these past 11 months would have sped by with such ferocity?

Reconsidering elected representatives

What is the role of a member of Parliament? A state assemblyperson (ADUN)? A local councillor? 

The day after...

In my last article, I wrote about the need to imagine the hours, days, weeks, and months following the 13th General Election (a most enigmatic event, whose precise date is and will forever be a mystery... until it is called!). 

Change must come but not with violence

A few days ago, I read an article by Liew Chin Tong, the MP for Bukit Bendera, entitled “The Last Mile” (The Rocket, July 2, 2012).

Let’s keep thuggery out

I have been working for Nurul Izzah and Parti Keadilan Rakyat since October 2010.

Cleaner, freer, fairer, better

It’s been a good nine months since the epic Bersih 2.0 rally of July 2011. I still remember the days that came before that mammoth gathering - the tension, the stress, the uncertainties, and most of all: the unyielding desire of the rakyat for free and fair elections - and realize that, given the special circumstance that we are in today what with polls being weeks or months away, those thunderous days may not be repeated verbatim.

Tale of two gatherings

This past week saw several different yet, from my point of view, important gatherings of people standing up for what they believe in. I want to write a little bit about two gatherings in particular, and highlight what we may (hopefully) learn from each.

Of sacred cows and secret condos

It’s been a while since my last article appeared in Selangor Times - things have been moving a tad bit faster than usual; even now I’m writing in between completing other tasks, but no matter.

What a year!

“Buka tutup buka tutup mata, dah habis satu tahun.”

TTDI residents ready for futsal 'match'

A few Fridays ago, I received an email from my neighbourhood security-watch committee about a new project that had suddenly mushroomed in our little corner of Taman Tun Dr Ismail: a futsal court.

Cleaner, fairer, better?

PRACTICALLY everyone who is reading this already knows about the July 9 rally organised by the Bersih 2.0 coalition. I believe that many of us were there on the streets on that historic day.

Maafkan kami

I’m not sure if you’ve been following the news, but earlier in June I was kind of in the news as I had to apologise for some things that I had tweeted in January.

Times of change

Of late, we’ve been inundated with talk about withdrawal of subsidies and subsequently the change in the price of sugar, RON95, gas, electricity, etc – some of which has happened, and some of which (for whatever economic or political reason) has not.

Sarawak, show us the way

The recent Sarawak state elections were such a learning experience for many Malaysians. Irrespective of whether we were active participants in the political battles on the ground, or just curious observers reading the news on Twitter, it is clear that Sarawak – and the rest of the country – can never be the same again.

The Malaysian resistance

These are “artistic impressions” of thoughts circumambulating the increasingly controversial Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
project. I chose to say “increasingly controversial” because we all know we need this infrastructure and thus any opposition to it appears to reject a very public need.











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