My community is turning “gated”. It started with simple security patrols many years ago, expanded to closures of certain roads with crude barricades earlier this year, and now, proper boom-gates and guard-posts are being constructed. All thanks to dedicated community leaders and supportive residents.
I watch with mixed feelings. On one hand, I certainly feel much safer with the enhanced security scheme, which I have supported from Day 1 of its humble beginnings. On the other hand, I am conscious that we are erecting barriers on public roads, which is a crime.
True, the residents’ association is closing roads with only the bests interests of the community in mind. And the authorities have adopted a hands-off attitude.
But where do we draw the line? Today we barricade a public road with the best of intentions. What next tomorrow? Who decides which intentions are noble enough for the law to be broken? Remember the political party which took over a playground to build a “service centre”? It claimed “good intentions”.
There are two big-picture issues here. One is the failure of the Barisan Nasional government to protect our communities. Crime used to be something that happened to someone else. Now, I personally know people who have been robbed, burgled and mugged. I am sure I am not atypical of the average city-dweller. Our police force needs to be far more effective.
The second issue is rising lawlessness. Laws are necessary for society to function. Laws must be enforced and people must be convinced that justice is even-handed for society to work. At this point, normally law-abiding citizens are now teaching their children that some laws can be ignored if our “intentions are good”. This fear of crime has forced civic-conscious Malaysians to turn criminals themselves, blockading public roads to protect the safety of themselves and their families. What next?