KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 27): Mia Sabrina Miharbi, a private-sector employee, uses public transport to get to work every day.
Often, the 21-year-old finds herself taking the light rail transit (LRT) and RapidKL bus service late at night to return home at night.
When Mia Sabrina finishes work at about 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., she usually takes the monorail at Jalan Raja Chulan, where her office is located, to the LRT station in Wangsa Maju, from where she takes a bus or taxi to her house in Taman Melawati.
Fear sets in each time she has to wait at the deserted bus stop opposite the Wangsa Maju LRT station as she has been harassed by motorcyclists and motorists in the past.
“For the last three years, I’ve been using the LRT to commute to work. I’m always scared when I return home late at night because it is dark out there. But since I need to work, I’ve no choice but to pluck up the courage and go through it,” Mia Sabrina, who is among the thousands of commuters in the city who use public transport, told Bernama.
She said just recently, a friend of hers had her mobile phone snatched by a thief while she was waiting at the Jalan Raja Chulan monorail station.
Marketing executive Aryssa Fahmy, 28, claimed that she was sexually harassed about two months ago whilst taking the LRT in the morning from SS18 Subang Jaya station to KL Sentral. Aryssa, who was on her way to work, said she noticed a man standing in front of her putting his hand into his pocket and soon it became obvious to her that he was holding his private part.
“It was horrible and scary. I hope we can have more policemen at the stations to ensure the safety of commuters,” she said, adding that a video of the incident taken by another witness went viral on social media.
Aryssa also made a police report at KL Sentral and the police managed to detain the suspect two days after the incident took place.
“I made a police report because I don’t want others to experience what I did. We shouldn’t allow men like that to go scot-free. If we keep silent due to embarrassment, those men will think they can do whatever they want,” she added.
A check by Bernama at various LRT and bus stations in the city last month showed that many public transport users are forced to wait or walk on deserted and dark walkways and pedestrian bridges at night due to faulty lights.
For example, the pedestrian bridge linking the Wangsa Maju LRT station to the bus stop opposite it was completely dark, and so was the walkway near the Sentul Timur LRT station.
Nevertheless, closed-circuit television cameras have been installed in strategic parts of the stations and police can be seen patrolling once in a while.
Another commuter Noor Anyza Jamil, 31, said she was afraid to walk alone in the city, especially in Jalan Bukit Bintang and the areas surrounding Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), Central Market and Kota Raya due to the presence of many foreigners.
“These foreigners usually walk around in groups, particularly during public holidays, and I don’t feel safe,” she said.
Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Shaharuddin Abdullah said the police make their crime-prevention rounds regularly in areas that are popular with visitors, such as KLCC, Bukit Bintang, Central Market and Kota Raya to ensure their safety.
He said two mobile police booths are stationed at Jalan Ampang and Dataran Merdeka and they operate from 8 a.m. to midnight.
“Crime victims can lodge their reports at the mobile stations and the policemen there would inform the operations room at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters for further action to be taken,” he said, when contacted by Bernama.
STILL UNDER CONTROL
According to crime analyst Kamal Affandi Hashim, Kuala Lumpur can still be considered as safe and secure because, based on the data collected, the people’s movements within the city have not been hampered.
He said there were two ways to gauge the level of safety in a location: one is to look at it objectively by basing it on the data collected; the other way is more abstract, that is, through public perception.
“The data shows that the situation is under control. And, the movements and daily activities of the city community have not been hampered in any way. So, in other words, the situation is safe (in the city),” he said.
He also urged the public to take the necessary preventive measures so that they do not end up becoming victims of crime.
People who have witnessed any crime incident should help to make a police report, instead of sharing it on social media, so that action can be taken immediately, he added.
The police, meanwhile, conducted a special 30-day operation, which started on Nov 14, to curb snatch crime and robberies in the city.
Kuala Lumpur Police chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said since the beginning of this year, police have received 469 crime cases involving locals and 252 cases involving tourists.
The recent operation saw the participation of the police Crime Investigation Department, the police stations concerned, police patrol cars and motorcycle patrol unit.
To enhance public safety and reduce pickpocketing and snatch thefts, the police is also planning to build eight police booths in various locations in Kuala Lumpur that have high visitor numbers. And, among the “hotspots” they have identified are Dataran Merdeka, KLCC, National Monument and Bukit Bintang.