Friday, September 28, 2007


The former Inspector General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar, in his weekly column Point of View in the Sunday Star on September 23, wrote an article titled Negate Not The Hard Work. It was an interesting read as Tun’s articles are.

However, what caught my attention was when he related a recent burglary in his house. This is what Tun wrote:-

“…My house was burgled on September 5, I lost a DVD player, three speakers, some DVD discs and a bunch of keys. I wasn’t crestfallen because the moment I rang up the police to report, patrol cars, the investigation officer, the dog and forensic teams and several high ranking officers swarmed my house. They were certainly on the ball. Three beautiful fingerprints were lifted, hopefully not my maid’s. Even the IGP contacted me.”

Imagine calling up the police and reporting the loss of a DVD set and a few DVD discs and the police rushed and they were on the case and were at the crime scene - policemen, patrolcars, forensic team, dog unit, investigation officer and even the IGP calling. Just like some American TV serial.

Reading Tun narrate his experience made me feel envious and understandably so.

A few years ago, my mum new house was burgled. The keys to the house had been just been given and the house had just renovated. Within three months of moving in my mum’s house was burgled. Never before had our house ever been burgled. Understandly my mum was in a state of shock and after regaining her composure she telephoned the police-station. What happened thereafter continue to be a topic of conversation now and then.

A few policemen appeared at the door step within minutes. They walked around the house. Went upstairs and found that the burglars had entered from the roof. That wasn’t difficult to deduce, afterall there were some foot prints and a little blood stain on the wall which indicated that the burglar(s) must have slid down the wall from the roof. Then the policemen looked at the wall to see if there were any finger prints and unfortunately found none. The policemen then asked a few cursory questions like what did my mum lose and when my mum said the burglar(s) had only taken a little money and little else, the police immediately kind of wrapped up their investigation. The policemen promised mum that they will investigate and left. That was all. I am inclined to believe that the case file must be still active. Afterall the crime remains unresolved.

Next day my mum decided to carry out her own high profile investigation. Since the house had only recently been renovated, she made out a list of all the persons and workmen who had been to my house. My mum made phone calls to the various workmen purportedly complaining about some defect in the work done. Most responded to the telephone call and almost everyone said they would come around and take a look. Except one and guess who. The person who did some work on the roof. First he did not respond to the telephone calls and after my mum’s persistent calls he answered. When my mum “complained” about a defect to the roof, he gave all sorts of excuse and said he was unable to come and take a look at the roof. Voila ! my mum had the lead and the suspect. What the policemen ought to have done, my mother within 24 hours of the crime could identify the likely suspect.

The only reason my mum refused to pursue the case further was her two lawyer sons who did not want their mum to endure time and expenses attending court in the event the suspect is charged. Being lawyers we know that due to the huge number of cases, it would be inevitable that this case would be postponed giving priority to earlier registered cases, part-heard or may be postponed for other reasons like I.O cuti, kursus or memberi keterangan dalam kes lain.

Yesterday, my friend Dason woke up and got a shock when he found out that his Honda CRV car which he had parked outside his house stolen. My friend went to the nearest police station, the policemen at the desk took the police report and the policemen at the end merely muttered “o.k yah”. That’s was it.

I am sure many others may have similar experiences. I write this piece simply to relate the experience my mum and my friend had when they were victims of crime and in contrast to the privilege accorded the former Inspector General of Police who had merely lost a DVD set, couple of DVD discs and a bunch of keys. In short what I want to say is this, Tun should consider how lucky and privilege he.

Norman Fernandez