Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Malaysia Has High Crime Rates?

The recent Singaporean visitors number to Malaysia has dropped due to the concerns of high crime rates there and the papers are reporting that the Malaysian authorities are going to try to get more Singaporeans to visit. Singapore and Malaysia forever has that love-hate relationship. First they hate you for going there to spend your money as it causes inflation. Next they invite you over to spend since tourist dollars are good money.

Personally, whenever I go over to Malaysia, I tend to keep myself more alert. It is common knowledge that Singaporeans are targetted over there and people get robbed of their possessions, from flashy handphones to expensive cars. The stories carried in the newspapers tell of extremely daring robbers, making you part with your valuables in broad daylight. The most extreme case recently was even armed robbers who tried to take the car of a businessman... and gunshots were even fired!!

I do not like to go over to Malaysia. Frankly speaking, the shopping is not that fantastic, scenery is so-so, food is not unique and there is language barrier. I cannot speak Bahasa Melayu nor the Cantonese which so many Malaysian Chinese speak. English and Mandarin? There are some who can manage a little of these 2 and when really in luck, it may be possible to carry on some sort of intelligent conversation.

But back to the high crime rates in Malaysia. The advice that I follow is to keep a low profile and carry minimal valuables when I do travel there. If there are little valuables carried, there is little to lose... unless if the criminals take your life but that is a different story. Keeping a low profile, dress simply and blend into the local population. Talk only when necessary since our accent is different from Malaysians and it positively identifies a Singaporean. Maybe I am too paranoid but with the high crime rates in Malaysia, I rather be safe than sorry.

Is the crime situation in Malaysia really that bad? Frankly speaking, I am not too sure. However, the frequent news reports of crimes there do much to reinforce the poor image of Malaysia that I have. It is even difficult to have faith in the enforcement of law there. Corruption is rife, just ask motorists whom have been stopped for "speeding" on the highways. Even the locals doubt the law enforcers. The recent case of gadis lokap, the video clip of the naked woman made to perform squats by a policewoman, crystalises much of the sceptism. When the so-called independent investigation found the woman to be a Malaysian Malay instead of the originally believed Chinese national, a lot of Malaysians still believe that the whole investigation process is just a coverup. A coverup aimed at appeasing China which had shown significant drops in tourists arrivals. Having seen the gadis lokap clip myself, the sceptics are well justified to believe in a coverup.

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