Investing in education, creating jobs can help combat crime, says Penang Governor

The notion that crime discriminates against race and ethnicity perpetuates harmful stereotypes and deepens the divisions within our society.

Penang Governor Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak said such a notion oversimplifies the multifaceted nature of crime and undermines the ability to address its causes effectively.

“We may risk overlooking the underlying societal issues that drive crimes and divide society. By embracing a colour-blind perspective, we can foster a more nuanced understanding of crime and work towards creating a fair and just society for all without fear or favour,” said Ahmad Fuzi.

“We must recognise that crime transcends racial and ethnic boundaries. Socioeconomic factors not inherent to racial predisposition influence high crime rates in certain communities.

“These include poverty, lack of education, unemployment, substance abuse and family instability. These represent a few examples of the complex web of factors that can contribute to criminal behaviour.”

To combat crime effectively, Ahmad Fuzi said it was important to focus efforts on addressing these causes.

“By investing in education, creating job opportunities, implementing social welfare programs, addressing substance abuse, providing rehabilitation and treatment programmes, and amending outdated laws and policies, we can uplift communities disproportionately affected by crime,” he said.

“Such measures can help break the cycle of crime and provide the people involved with the resources and support they need to make positive choices without resorting to crimes.”

Ahmad Fuzi said this during his keynote speech at the 10th Forum on Crime and Policing in Malaysia at Jen Penang Georgetown Hotel, Penang this morning.

He said there was a perception that people who commit white-collar crimes such as scams, fraud, embezzlement and insider trading are less harmful or dishonest than those who commit street crimes, including robbery, snatch theft, and murder.

“This is indeed a misconception. We need to recognise that these crimes, motivated more by greed than desperation, can lead to serious harm, with often lasting consequences to society,” Ahmad Fuzi said.

“Some of the largest companies and corporations in the world have been found guilty of committing such crimes which threaten the social fabric of the society just as much if not more than any street crime.”

As for cybercrime, Ahmad Fuzi highlighted that between January and May 2023, there were 1,285 reported cases in Penang, a 62.3 per cent increase over the same period last year.

“The majority were women at 52.5 per cent, aged between 21-50 years (78.6 per cent), and engaged mainly in the private sector (72.5 per cent). Chinese accounted for 43 per cent, followed by Malays at 39.2 per cent.”

He said environmental crime deserves serious consideration, adding that such crimes are becoming rampant and tied to transnational organised crime networks.

“It is incumbent upon us to not only appreciate that crime is colour blind but to work towards creating a fair and just society where we uphold equality of opportunity and dismantle systemic barriers so every individual has the chance to thrive.

“Let us, therefore, strive to develop a society that is not blinded by stereotyping, but instead focus on adopting the principles of justice, fairness and compassion in our daily lives,” Ahmad Fuzi added before launching the forum.

The forum is organised by Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS), the Penang government, Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (Penang) and the Penang State Contingent Police.

Event sponsors include Magnum Corporation, Pan Malaysian Pools Sdn Bhd, STM Lottery Sdn Bhd, Pinang Peranakan Mansion and ASPEN Vision Development Sdn Bhd.

Twentytwo13 is the official media partner.