Crime statistics now an official secret?
Tashny Sukumaran | April 1, 2011

Bukit Aman denies Women's Aid Organisation vital information, citing instructions were issued by IGP.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Aman has denied NGO Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) access to the 2010 Crime Statistics booklet prepared by its Sexual Crimes and Child Abuse division.

“We requested for it on March 3, but got a reply that they cannot release these statistics as they have been classified as confidential,” said Ivy Josiah, WAO executive director.

“Why should statistics on sexual crimes and crimes against children be ‘confidential’? Isn’t the request a basic one?”

She said that these statistics were important to learn the trends of sexual crimes in order to help people understand violence against women more clearly.

“We need them to formulate public education messages and policy reform, for example, an important statistic is how many women die in their own homes and whether there are prior domestic violence reports so we can see if there’s a link.”

She also questioned why Bukit Aman is refusing to release the statistics, when it has done so without a fuss regularly before.

“I have no idea why this is, but I’d speculate that perhaps it may show Malaysia in a bad light. This is why it’s important to have a Freedom of Information Act.”

Bukit Aman, however, declined to comment except to say that the book has been classified as a secret document under the OSA on the instructions of Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar.

Josiah said the WAO sent a letter of appeal to Bukit Aman today asking them to reconsider their decision not release the information.

“For 25 years, WAO has been helping the people of Malaysia, and the statistics aid us to provide services that are relevant to changing needs over time.”

“Statistics also help us understand trends and effects. Without them, we cannot focus our attention on those who need it most and to help combat these crimes.”