Sunday, August 11, 2013

Guan Eng likens Malaysia to US in easy access to guns - The Malay Mail Online

Malaysia has strict laws governing gun control, but despite the legal ramifications, there has been an apparent burgeoning of such weapons in the black market recently. – AFP picMalaysia has strict laws governing gun control, but despite the legal ramifications, there has been an apparent burgeoning of such weapons in the black market recently. – AFP picKUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — Lim Guan Eng questioned today the sudden surge of gun supply among criminals here despite Malaysia's strict laws, saying the country appears to have become like the United States where firearms are easily available on retail.

The DAP secretary-general said the police must focus its resources on tracing the supply and stop the source, instead of griping over losing their power to detain suspected criminals without putting them to trial.

"How did the guns enter Malaysia?" Lim asked in a statement here. "Despite harsh death penalty laws on possession of guns and bullets in Malaysia, the supply of guns in the hands of secret societies are so common that Malaysia appears to be like America where guns can be simply bought off retail stores."

"Blaming the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance(EO) that released many hardened criminals, does not fully explain how a ready supply of guns has suddenly surged in Malaysia.

"The police must trace and stop the source that supplies such weapons," he added.

Noting the alleged failure of the authorities to arrest the recent crime spate, Lim repeated suggestions to beef up the police force with more crime fighters instead of pencil pushers, noting that at present, only 9 per cent of uniformed personnel are out battling criminals.

He said the public expects "better value for money" for police protection against crime and pointed out that allocation for the force had been increased by 65 per cent in the period between 2007 and 2012 or RM4.22 billion in 2007 to RM6.98 billion in 2012.

In the face of the "helpless" police force, Lim said his party will convene an emergency leadership meeting tomorrow night at its headquarters to discuss the country's deteriorating crime situation.

"Even though some leaders are away on holiday, DAP is holding this emergency meeting to respond to public fears for their safety that has affected business and caused tourism associations to publicly voice out on the adverse impact of violent crime on tourism in Malaysia," he said.

Malaysia has strict laws governing gun control, but despite the legal ramifications, there has been an apparent burgeoning of such weapons in the black market recently.

As a result, gun crimes have risen to alarming levels in recent days, resulting in a string of deaths and attempted murders across the country.

The police have pinned the gun-related crimes on released EO detainees, claiming that they have now gone back into business and are fighting in a massive gangland turf war to regain street credibility.

Last week, anti-crime watchdog group MyWatch revealed startling allegations that Malaysia now has gun rental services with each weapon going for less than a night's stay at a local five-star hotel and its ammunition, even cheaper than a bottle of water.

"It started as a favour of borrowing guns among friendly groups, then it became rental," the group's co-founder S. Gobi Krishnan told The Malay Mail Online.

This rental "service" began last year, Gobi said, with guns hired out to assassins for as little as RM300 for three hours, with bullets costing just 80 sen each.

"It seems to be a new trend, copying what's happening in other countries," added the MyWatch advisor, referring to powerful drug cartels terrorising Mexico and South Africa.

He said that the trend of gun rentals started out small, but spiked this year as more people came to know about it.

According to Gobi, the most commonly available gun for rent is the Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Popular with law enforcement agencies worldwide, the Glock is also issued to members of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Customs Department enforcers, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), and authorised RELA personnel.

"In the past few years, if you want to shoot somebody, you have to spend RM5,000 to RM6,000 for a gun," he said. "Now, it's just available."

"If you buy a gun, you have to be worried as the police might catch you. But here, you just rent, execute the job where you shoot somebody, and then return the gun," added the anti-crime activist.

Gobi also stressed that there was no surge in the smuggling of firearms into the country, but said corruption in Malaysia's Anti-Smuggling Unit guarding the border between Thailand and Malaysia has enabled the entry of some firearms.

"Definitely there're corrupt officers there. Otherwise guns cannot be brought into the country," Gobi asserted.

Gun trafficking in Malaysia carries the death penalty or life imprisonment under section 7 of the Firearms Act 1971 while illegal possession stipulates a maximum 14-year jail term and a minimum six strokes of the rotan.

Consorting with a felon convicted of illegal gun possession also carries the same penalty under the same Act.
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