Johor safe, police chief gives assurance

JOHOR BARU - The police have assured Singaporeans that they are safe to visit and do business in Johor.

State police chief Datuk Mokhtar Shariff yesterday told press representatives from the republic that the perception of Johor being a crime-ridden state was false and that those who propagate this were being irresponsible.

Present at the briefing held at a hotel here were Johor-based members of the media.

Mokhtar presented statistics to support the police's assessment that the state was safe for both living as well as doing business.

He also stressed that the perception that Johor was not safe was partly because of certain reports on crime had been blown out of proportion.

"These reports were presented in such a way that it seems as though the situation was really out of control, and that the target of criminals were Singaporeans.

"All the crimes are actually common in nature and there is no such thing as Singaporeans being specifically targeted.

"The police are in full control and this should be sufficient to eliminate all unfounded allegations and fears on safety and security issues in Johor."

Mokhtar said there were only two kidnap cases involving Singaporeans since 2008.

"Last year, 320 out of the 14.1 million Singaporean visitors to Johor had fallen victims to crime.

"This translates to only 0.002 per cent.

"Unfortunately, the perception about the security in Johor is worse than what the statistics had revealed.

"Perception is something we cannot change. What we can do is to explain the situation and let the public be the judge."

Mokhtar added that the number of violence and property crimes affecting Singaporeans in the state had gone down from 386 cases in 2008 to 320 last year.

He said this was due to the police adopting several strategies, including deploying his officers at crime-prone areas and hot spots.

"Singaporeans make up about 40 per cent of the total business investment in Iskandar Malaysia.

"Ensuring their safety will not only bring in more investment from the republic, but also helps to cement ties between the people from both sides of the causeway.

"For foreign investors, we have set up a special task force to immediately act on any of their reports."

The issue of security in Johor became a hot topic after Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng allegedly made a remark that the state was crime infested and not safe, especially for Singaporeans.

The alleged statement was reportedly made while Lim was attending a lunch organised by the Foreign Correspondents Association of Singapore on Aug 12. Advertisement