Monday, September 26, 2011


GOOD if the crime rate in Penang has gone down but in trying to entice foreigners to flock to your backyard, must you also run down another state?

Apparently that's what Lim Guan Eng did at a foreign correspondents luncheon in Singapore recently, picking up on Johor which is heavily promoting its Iskandar region to foreign investors.

Let's just leave it to the police to confirm if their statistics back up Lim's claim or clear Johor's good name. But regardless of the public safety situation, is it right for any Malaysian to speak ill of his country when overseas and when fronting a mainly foreign audience?

Singaporeans most likely to be kidnapped when in Johor compared to Lim's supposedly very safe Penang? He may have said this in jest but we haven't heard many stories of Singaporeans being grabbed in the streets in Johor, to be released only after a huge ransom is paid.

Promote the state you lead if you must but you don't have to run down your competitor at the same time........

Penang wasn't such a safe place in the late 80s. As a journalist based in the north then, I remember often receiving stories from our guys on the island about one serious crime after the other, so much so that my assistant P. K. Bala, now deceased, kept asking what exactly was wrong with his home state.

"KLpun (Kuala Lumpur) tak teruk macam ni...." (Even KL is not this bad), was his oft-repeated moan.

Not only that, but just a few weeks into our transfers there from KL we saw the kind of flare-ups in and outside the bars of the kind we never saw in KL and other parts of the Klang Valley in 12 or 15 years. We saw those who felt they were unfairly treated calling for reinforcements who came with tools like baseball bats! The gangs had female members too.

But if the crime situation has indeed improved, then all credit must go to the police, an absolute federal agency over which Lim has no control or say whatsoever. So too having more CCTVs to help the police control crime, as boasted by Lim in Singapore, unless these are put up by the state government.