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Mall operators must ensure the safety of female patrons using their toilets. -NSTP/File pic (Image shown is for illustration purposes only).

LETTERS: I AM writing to inform the public about how dangerous it is to let your guard down in seemingly familiar, safe and family-friendly areas such as malls.

I am a frequent visitor to a mall in Kuala Lumpur. One recent Tuesday, when I went to the third floor toilet about 9pm, a woman told me a man had entered the women’s toilet and tried to peek under the toilet stall at her and her friend on two occasions. She advised me to be careful and not use the toilet on that floor.

I advised her to report this matter to the mall’s security office and went to the first floor toilet to put as much distance between myself and the perpetrator.

There, I felt something amiss, so I glanced at the large gap under the toilet door. I saw the shadow of a head and it was obvious that a person outside was lowering his face closer to the floor.

I screamed at the top of my lungs and slammed the door open. As expected, the coward fled.

Before I entered the toilet, I had not noticed anyone following me nor did I see any CCTV camera in the corridor leading to the toilet. It was an L-shaped corridor that led to the toilet from the shops.

I went to the security office on the ground floor. I told the head of security what happened and he told his guards to patrol the area and try to catch the perpetrator. They also asked me to look at the CCTV footage, but since there were no security cameras in the corridor leading to the toilet, the culprit was not caught on screen.

However, there were cameras at the lifts at the end of the corridor which was separated from the toilet by two doors. Through one open door, the cameras caught the fuzzy outline of a man entering the women’s toilet after I entered.

Although the security guards were attentive, they were inexperienced and had poor protocol to secure the area.

I wrote a letter of complaint and asked them what they were going to do. They told me they would try to catch the perpetrator, but it did not seem like he could be identified.

I do not feel safe going to the mall on my own anymore.

The security guards seem half-hearted and clueless in their approach to the situation.

I had to ask them to send a guard to accompany me to my car. In fact, I do not think they would have arranged for an escort if I had not mentioned it to them.

I am disappointed and I do not think I will feel safe until the criminal has been brought to justice and the mall installs CCTV cameras, trains their security personnel to handle cases like this and increase patrols in crucial spots.

I think it is high time that malls beef up security to reassure female patrons. If malls cannot ensure our safety, is there any reason for us to frequent them?



The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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