Sunday, July 31, 2016

Firearms Incidents: Border Security Agency

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, State Assemblywoman for Damansara Utama on Thurday 28 July 2016 in Petaling Jaya.

The rampant cases of firearm incidents have shown that the newly set-up Border Security Agency under Home Ministry must buck-up to ensure safety and security of all Malaysians. 

Malaysia is no longer safe. We have heard of many shooting incidents since the beginning of the year, many of which happened in broad daylight. Within this month (July 2016) alone, Malaysians have been shocked by at least six firearm incidents[1]. Many were heartless incidents that send shivers down the spine of everyone who lives and works in Malaysia. In the beginning of the month, 32-year old property agent, Wong Siu Ling was shot dead by two gunmen with five shots in Taman OUG, KL. Her daughter, who was sitting at the passenger seat, was seriously injured by the gunshots targeted at her mother. She is only 8 years old! Then in mid-July, drug addict, Chung Chun Wah shot dead his own mother, brother and two-year-old nephew and his mother’s partner with an unlicensed gun in a chicken factory in Penang. Yesterday, we heard yet another case – a moneylender was shot dead at a traffic light junction in Setapak.

Life seems to be cheap nowadays. Sin Chew Daily reported that the “black market price” for a pistol is as low as RM2,000 with RM2 for each bullet. Yes, bullet is cheaper than nasi kandar now! More shockingly, the report also stated that a hitman can be hired at as low as RM5,000. We can roughly confirm the range of hitman's “market price” from the testimony of the hitman who killed Wong Siu Ling when he said that he has not received his pay of RM10,000 from the hirer.

According to the deputy Home Minister, Nur Jazlan, the firearms used in all the cases of shooting incidents were smuggled into the country and unlicensed[2]. Malaysian law imposes death penalty to firearm smuggling, yet we see illegal firearms used in all the shooting cases! This is indeed a mockery to Putrajaya! What has the home ministry been doing in curbing smuggling? Of the 646km of Malaysia-Thailand border, only 111km is fenced. In fact, there is no need for statistics; one just has to cross the Malaysia-Thailand border to know how porous our border is.

Hence, we would like to question the Home Minister, Zahid Hamidi whether the Border Security Agency, which was set-up by Home Ministry in November 2015 under his leadership[3], has failed to achieved its purpose in curbing smuggling.  This was supposed to be an upgrade of the original Smuggling Prevention Unit (UPP) with only 909 officials to an agency with 10,000 officials, which comprises of officials from the armed forces, the general operation force of the police and the UPP. In addition, the home minister has also announced that there will be better hardware to strengthen our border with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and drones.

With a new agency of 10,000 officials and more sophisticated hardware, why are shooting cases with illegal firearms more rampant now than ever? After more than half a year of the inception of Border Security Agency, why does it seem that it is getting easier to get firearms?

With that, we call upon the Home Minister to explain to all Malaysians what Putrajaya will do in order to improve Border Security Agency to strengthen our border control and how is the Home Ministry going to solve the rising shooting cases.

We would like to remind Putrajaya that the lives of Malaysians are worth much more the “market price” of bullet, gun and hitman. The Home Ministry must buck-up to ensure safety and security of all Malaysians.