Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Safe is it?

I did not think much of an episode that happened about 2 weeks ago until I saw a news item this morning about a 'Gated Community' guidelines.

I was parked by the road-side in front of the Standard Chartered Saadiq and Public Bank in Taman Tun Dr Ismail ( TTDI ). It was around 1530hrs (3.30pm ) and there were people in the streets. I was just reading an old magazine in between one of my ‘errands’. The car windows were wound down half way and traffic was moving from behind me and passed me by.

Suddenly, a man peeked in at the left car window and mumbled about something to me. He was smiling all the while.He showed his hand-phone, mentioned something that sounds like ‘no money’. His language didn’t sound English or Bahasa and it was garbled. He looked like Chinese but did not sound like one ( more like one of these foreign workers or something) My worry then was that it was just a ploy to make me open the car door.

Mentioning hand-phone and no money sounded weird. Was he trying to sell his hand-phone or what. Nobody sells hand-phones on the streets, watches, may be yes but not hand-phones. I thought it was odd. I just said thank you and waved him away. He was still smiling when he walked away. I didn’t think anything just glad he didn’t insist but just watched him walked past.

He then walked to the car parked in front of mine, a Kancil. He peeked in like he did before. Suddenly he froze. He was not smiling anymore. He hesitated. The car driver made a move to get out of his car. That was when the man bolted. He tried to cross the road, a van screeched past nearly knocking him. He then retreated and ran through between the parked cars to the shophouses. He must have been really terrified of the Kancil driver.

The driver in the meantime switched his car on and started the chase in his car. He was lucky traffic stopped for the red light behind us. He sped off unimpeded. I had also wanted to join in the fun and started my car to follow but I couldn’t. The traffic light behind me turned green and cars started speeding by me again.

What was that all about? The man had met the Kancil driver before? Yes, definitely yes, otherwise he shouldn’t have bolted. But what were the circumstances?

That’s the point! They must have met before but not on the best of terms. The man could have been a criminal, snatch thief, a gangster, swindler an along debtor or any shady character. The Kancil driver could have been a policeman, a gangster ( of a rival gang) a victim or an along debt collector or anybody at all. At that point of time they both recognised each other and desired to settle scores straightaway.

One time not too long ago, a woman driver who stopped by the roadside was slashed by 3 hoodlums on motor-cycles. The same trio apparently had terrorized those walking to the shops, brandishing parangs and robbing them. There were occasions fellow motor-cyclists were also robbed at knife-point. All these happened in TTDI, a relatively affluent township.

Some concerned citizens apparently tried to get the grave security situation under control.

This came about lately , may be a few months back, when we were suddenly stopped by security guards manning make-shift barriers when moving around within TTDI. Back-lanes were sealed off much to the chagrin of early morning walkers, joggers, housewives bound for the shops and motorists taking short-cuts.

Will these barriers and security measures ( which appear to be temporary) become permanent features? The need is there but the way these have mushroomed in the various townships and housing estates are causing much inconveniences and frustrations. There must be some form of standard security measures as done for gated communities. This means townships in future ought to be built with such thoughts in mind to avoid half measures which might not be effective.

By a sheer coincidence all is not lost therefor. Am I glad then to see the item in the news today about the cabinet having approved a ‘ Gated Community’ guidelines. It is now being considered by the National Council for Local Govt before implementation.

By doing so we would at least have some semblance of consistency of policies. Otherwise, the developers have been known to include ridiculous items under ‘ security fees’ and the rates being charged were exorbitant to say the least and varied so much between communities.


Al-Manar said...

It sounds all too scary in a big plce like KL and Selangor. It will no doubt spill over to the rural areas as well where the victims are truly helpless.

kaykuala said...

Dear Pak Cik,
I've a feeling it'll stay as an urban phenomena where they are faceless and potential victims aplenty. It's a supply and demand thing.

In most instances it could be drug related so they need lots of cash to keep up their habit. So it is a repeated happening every so often.

They didn't have any qualms of having knives and parangs with them, that's the scary part.

abdulhalimshah said...

Dear Hank,
Next time, if you come across such a person, just show a card, any card, as long as he sees something like an authority card.
I do carry a pepper spray wherever I go. If I need to use, I just spray it direct into the face of the attacker and then go to the nearest police stn.
Do not get involved in a chase, because you could be mistaken as the culprit and not the victim.

kaykuala said...

Dear Hal,
How true. I normally switched off my engine when I stop to wait. I would wind the car window half-way down as a safety measure.
I would not antagonise an intruder but to wave him off. He would leave if you ignore him.
Of course, lock your car from the inside in the first place. That should be enough comfort to start with.
A pepper spray is a great thing to have in the car. You never know when it can come in handy. Yes, Should have one.