According to Asia One News, and my postings of 1/1513, 3/13/13 and 3/14/13 (all of which should be read by readers not familiar with taxi-related robberies and rape in Malaysia), Malaysian police arrested last week two central figures in a case that has had tourists and residents alike in fear for their safety.
COMMENT: Although Malaysian police are seemingly shocked that a hardened criminal with a record of homicide and countless drug offenses could be issued a legitimate taxi permit, the long list of taxi-related robberies and rapes in recent months should have offered the cops a "clue" that they were faced with an endemic crime problem and not just one based on anecdotal incidence.
The key suspect in the series of taxi-related felonies used his genuine taxi license to commit 37 cases of assault, abduction, robbery and rape with 11 accomplices, including three women, since January this year in the Klang Valley.
His accomplice, who was employed as a security guard at a private firm, also had a criminal record of serious proportions, including possession of drugs and dangerous weapons, kidnapping and voluntarily causing hurt.
Both men were part of an intricate gang that abducted and raped an American teacher in the Greater Kuala Lumpur area earlier in the month in Sungai Pelek, Sepang, in Selangor.
Crime observers and pundits have questioned how an actual taxi permit was issued to the ringleader when the authorities have always maintained strict vetting procedures, THE MALAY MAIL reported.
As my postings re: incidents on both the Mainland and in the islands (including Penang) have highlighted, police assertions that the vetting of licensees was impeccable, simply does not hold water.
As most of our readers will recall, I have also commented on altercations between cabbies and fares, frequent demands for inflated charges, failure to use taxi meters and the like. Thus, there is clearly an oversight problem on the part of the police.
Although the police seem to be "hanging their hat" on the fact that one stolen taxi was reported during their investigation, that one stolen cab was obviously just the tip of the iceberg when, in fact, a criminal with a long criminal record had been issued a genuine taxi permit.
Another four suspects have been detained in connection with the abduction and rape of the American.
Sadly, the police have permitted a criminal enterprise of some sophistication to operate under their noses with as many as a dozen accomplices.
One can only hope that media organizations in Malaysia and abroad do their jobs, and ferret out the weaknesses and deficiencies in the issuance of taxi permits and help clean up the obvious flaws, despite police insistence that vetting is optimal. Obviously, it is not.
Residents and tourists in Malaysia should be getting far more from a taxi industry that is obviously on "life-support." They deserve reliable, honest and ethical service.