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Too many close shaves for comfort


I WASN'T angry to find my car shattered last Thursday. I had parked my car in front of a row of shophouses in Jalan Maju in Taman Maju Jaya.

It was dark but the street was abuzz with activities that night because of an event nearby. Perhaps the event had served as a useful distraction for the criminal.

It was the first time such a thing had happened to me. Ok, I was guilty of leaving a bag in the car, but there was nothing valuable in it. There were some documents inside, they can always be re-printed. Ok, so the thief missed the netbook that was also in the car. I had forgotten all about it because I was thinking only about getting to my assignment that night,

That's why I wasn't angry at all. I was grateful my netbook was spared. The most valuable thing that I lost that day was my handphone charger, which happened to be in the bag, and RM270, the cost of replacing the window.

The most important thing was that I wasn't hurt.

Anyway, the lesson here is to never leave anything inside the car at any time.

A 54-year-old friend of mine, who did not want to be named, was not so lucky on Sunday. He and his wife was leaving their house in Permas Jaya to go to church, when men armed with parang suddenly got out of a white Toyota Estima multipurpose van outside. One put a parang to the wife's neck.

"One snatched the gold chain around my wife's neck, while the other also threatened me with a parang," said my friend.

"When my wife started screaming, all my neighbours came out and the men turned to me. I fell down while backing away from them. I defended myself by kicking one of them in the chest.

"I managed to kick my assailant twice before I felt a sharp pain in my right arm," he said.

The assailant had slashed at his arm with the parang and blood was gushing out of the wound.

The men ran off after that.

I was visiting him at the hospital. He said the doctor had told him that there had been five victims of robbery in just the last few days, "The Johor police kept saying Iskandar Malaysia was safe. My wife and I were attacked right outside our house. It was 7pm. If they're going to say, don't wear gold chains, then Johor Baru is not really a safe city, is it?" he said, seething in anger.

As the doctor was back to show my friend the X-ray of his rib that was fractured in the fall he took, I walked over to the adjacent bed, on which a man in his 20s was sitting up.

He looked fine until he turned to his side. I saw that his head had been shaved where a cut there had been stitched up.

"I got 10 stitches for this," said the man, when he saw me looking at him.

He told me he had been working as a technician in Singapore in the last two years.

"I was returning home to Taman Sentosa in Johor Baru at around 10.30pm on Monday, when I saw a two men on a motorcycle. One was carrying a parang, the other a wooden stick.

"Without a word, the one with the parang slashed me at the back and across my head. However, they did not get anything. They sped off after I fell down.

"I am not sure if that was because they had noticed some passersby. I only know that some kind-hearted person rushed me to the hospital," he said.

He told me he was glad he was alive and the thieves did not take his wallet or his motorcycle.

Although crime is still happening in the city, that does not mean the Johor police, state government and private corporations are not exactly not doing anything to fight crime.

It is normal to feel anger after something terrible has happened to you. Some automatically lash out at the police and the government. The police's latest effort to combat crime is the Community Alert application for smartphones, which lets the user alert the police immediately after a crime is committed.

Yes, there is still more to be done. Let's work together with the police to make things as difficult as possible for the criminals.

Let's start by not leaving things in the car and being mindful of our surroundings. Don't take it for granted that we are safe from crime.

Together, we can make Johor a safer place to live in.


The man attacked by parang-wielding robbers outside his house in Permas Jaya. Pic by Chuah Bee Kim

The technician set upon by would-be robbers with knives outside his home in Taman Sentosa.

The moral of the story is, don’t leave anything in your car.

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