Friday, June 22, 2007


As you read in the newspapers all the time, there will never once be a week gone by where there are no crime news in Johor, especially in Johor Bahru. It is a known fact that it is one of the worst cities in Malaysia given the high crime rate, the deteriorating state of public facilities and overpriced food.

I have been to some of the most highest living standard cities in Malaysia. Miri, an oil city beside Brunei has a higher living standard because of oil, foreigners and Brunei. Kota Kinabalu has a higher living standard because of successful tourism. Johor Bahru basically has a higher living standard because of Singapore. Guess who has the most highest living standard among all three? Well, Johor Bahru. Just going out to eat at kopitiams you will know that the price is not much different from the pricing in Singapore after currency conversion. Just slightly cheaper. I even dare to declare that Johor Bahru has the most expensive hawker food and drinks in the whole country!

The notorious crime scene in Johor Bahru with the amount of gang rapes, murders, robbers and criminals with parangs all over the city is also making it the crime capital of Malaysia. Sibu may have one of the most famous gangsters problems in the country but their bravery to commit the most serious crimes is nothing close to what those in Johor Bahru can achieve. The police who is always late when you call them is a common thing here. During my first stay in a rented semi-detached house which is just 300M away from the police station, it took them over 20 minutes to reach the house. I don't mean a small police post which can only fit 1 person inside. It is the police headquarters of the whole state!

There was a thief who dropped by when we were having dinner around 7pm. Some clothes and slippers were stolen outside the house. We managed to detect him trying to use a bamboo pole with a hook connected to it to go through the window to steal things in our room. When I entered the room, the pole was already in the room but he ran away once we shouted at him.

The criminals in Johor Bahru are so daring that they commit their crimes even during daytime. I guess they know that the police will always be late so it doesn't matter whether they strike in the morning or at night. There is no fear of the always delay, useless police force which are only interested in doing spot checks on cars with tinted glass and blocking cars at junctions.

A Malay teacher from Malacca had their house broken into by a few people armed with parangs just a month plus back. I doubt it was even reported in the newspapers. What you read in the newspapers are probably just a small portion of the amount of crimes happening here. They took all their valuables and luckily did not harm any of the family members. If they did, there is nothing the teacher could have done anyway. After the incident, she lives in great fear and has great hope of leaving Johor Bahru. I heard the city is having shortage of teachers because nobody want to be transferred to the capital city of crime.

Last time, after a heavy rain with thunder, a huge portion of traffic lights were not working because they were struck by lightning. We were caught in the heavy traffic jam to the airport, stuck through over 5 traffic light junctions. The coolest jam was in front of a traffic light which has a police station overlooking it! The police station is just in front of that traffic light junction and you see no policemen coming out to direct traffic. How cool is that? Where were they? The rain had stopped so there are no excuses not to carry out duty. The distance from the police station to the traffic light is easily 10 meters away, although this one is not as big as the headquarter that is near my ex-rented home. The jam caused 2 hours of delay of my journey to the airport to take a flight home to Sibu.

During rains, the roads become rivers! You will have huge amount of water collection at different parts of the road. It is very common to have floods here and there blocking the roads, especially those roads near flyovers which take centuries to complete. There are many vacant buildings around Johor Bahru too. You will be surprised by the size of them. One of them is a tall building that can be seen far away. They all just make the city a lot more beautiful!

The announcement of the government to put more forces and cars in Johor Bahru is a waste of time. Even if there is police station at every 300M radius of the city, the police will still come 20 minutes late. The patrol cars will be only interested to go around hiding at junctions to spot check cars. Also with the high standard of maintenance of Malaysia, I think these added reinforcements will not last over a month!

The roads in Johor Bahru are also among the worst in the country. I drove in many cities in Malaysia, including Brunei and Singapore. I have not come across much worse roads in the whole country. There are holes all over the roads and it is a common site to see people put bricks in the hole to even out the road. Imagine, a whole piece of brick can be inserted into the hole. It is like having those 4WD rallies in the deep jungle. You just have to avoid the holes, some of them impossible since the whole stretch is filled with the holes. During my 6 months in Johor Bahru, there are however some works done to cover some of them. Still, if you calculate in percentage, I would say only 5% of the total holes were taken care of!

The next most interesting thing which you can see in Johor Bahru is the use of chairs to block parking lots everywhere. I have visited many places in Malaysia and this is the only place I had seen to have so many chairs booking the parking lots. Basically the shops fronting the parking lots are doing it. It is extremely irritating especially during peak hours when you cannot find parking lots. Then you see many lots taken up by chairs. Some of them even have guards or people standing near it to remove it if the potential customers are driving in. Those public parking lots are public! What the heck and what authority do they have to book it for their own use? I don't see any painted RESERVED word or plate number written in it to confirm that someone actually buy the lot down.

This is Johor Bahru to you. They want to have a Iskandar Development Region here? Foreign investors should live in the city for a week before making a decision. I am sure they will have the best impression ever! I think I need to buy some baseball bats to be placed in my car and current rented house for protection. I need to learn my swings! I suggest Johor to start their own baseball league. Encourage everyone to learn to play baseball because there are just too many parangs going around. We need to train people to protect themselves against parangs.

Just last week I signed the petition created by the Tiong Hua Association which is organized in the whole city to tell the police of the concerns of the citizens living in Johor Bahru regarding the seriousness of the crime. I did my part but I know how good quality the police force is. Therefore, I am not surprised how useless the signatures are now. I know the efforts will be in vain. There is an online version. They won't last a month or two even if the government promises to use the crane to bring the whole Bukit Aman police station here.

I think the best solution is to build a Robocop or mutate a human to create Spiderman! You know how superheroes always have their specific cities to protect? It is time we have our very own superhero because the city is really rotten beyond repair. Worse than Gotham (Batman), Metropolis (Superman), Detroit (Robocop) and New York (Spiderman) combined! I don't care if he is CicakMan or LipasMan or KalaJengkingMan or KuraKuraMan or HarimauMan or SingaMan or HelangMan. As long as he/she is more competent to catch all the criminals, I don't care what he/she is mutated from! This place is so dirty and polluted too so any mutated form is possible. It also doesn't take a rocket scientist to know which is the biggest race and religion in Johor Bahru.

There is a famous saying here:
If you have not experienced being a snatch theft victim, or being a theft victim, being robbed or even raped, you ain't live in Johor Bahru yet!

You must satisfy one of the requirements to be accepted as Johor Bahru citizen and experience the life of living in this vibrant city. We already had - we are theft victims in 3 months. I have been a Malaysian since 1981, and in only 3 months in Johor Bahru, I made the first ever phone call to the police in my life. Fast enough? It is a record to be proud of! Malaysia Boleh!

The person who answered the phone talked so casually and slowly, without any sense of urgency and confirming your address a million times, you knew you made a mistake and wasted your time calling them. It is nothing like the fast response portrayed in the TV shows of 911. The efficiency was far too top notch. Two policemen did come to the scene of the crime 20 minutes later with live ammo all over their belts and a new Wira car where the plastic sheets were still wrapping the seats. I wonder the live bullets are still there today for display only and probably the plastic sheets too.

They stood there chit chat a while before leaving. Actually, I did not even want to bother to call them in the first place but I heard the siren sound just 10-15 minutes after the thief left later behind my ex-rented house. The police confirmed that the way the thief stole the items from the crime scene behind my ex-rented house fit very much my description and did not disregard the high possibility that it could be the same person. I thought by reporting to them, I could help them in any possible way since it could be a related case. I was totally wrong! Until today, nothing is solved and heard, the case is automatically closed. Nothing happened, life goes on. It also proven my assumptions wrong that living nearer to the police station is safer. The safest place is always the most dangerous place!


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