Have you paid your security bill?

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All of us are already or in a matter of time going to be hit with a new household bill – neighbourhood security, warns Rani Rasiah.

More neighbourhoods are being protected by private security - Photo courtesy of townplan.gov.my

All of us are already or in a matter of time going to be hit with a new household bill – neighbourhood security. This previously unheard of service is fast becoming a reality of life in not only exclusive housing reserves but also in humble low cost housing areas.

Early this month, the Deputy Prime Minister commented that all ‘guarded neighbourhoods’ will be bound by the Gated Communities and Guarded Neighbourhood Guidelines that have been newly drawn up by the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

The DPM also made a passing remark that “the job of ensuring (security) belonged to the police”. Strange and contradictory, as he made this statement while endorsing private policing organised and paid for by residents anxious over the security of their neighbourhood.

Is the government acknowledging the inability of the police, in the face of the rising crime rate, to maintain law and order and ensure a safe environment for Malaysians? Whatever it is, another bill has insidiously crept into our monthly household expenditure, further burdening the bulk of households.

Memory tells us that this bill, like that of other privatised services will only rise and rise, and most Malaysians will be too phobic about security by then to refuse participation. Those of us who live in ‘guarded neighbourhoods’ will note how the monthly security bill increases in leaps and bounds within a short span. That is inevitable when security becomes a business, when the government coolly relegates its responsibility to others. It will also be naïve not to wonder who has got a hand in these many, many private security businesses.

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Security is the responsibility of government. The government has to analyse the causes of the rising crime rates – its socio-economic poverty-creating policies, the huge income gap – and come up with policies that will enable everyone to live a decent life.

Rani Rasiah, an Aliran member, is coordinator of the Oppressed People’s Network (Jerit).

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