RAIN failed to dampen the spirit of some 3,000 people who converged on Taman Tasik Titiwangsa on Sunday for an anti-crime campaign.
The campaign was jointly organised by Buddha's Light International Association, Malaysia Chapter and 22 other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to prevent crime by creating a loving society.
Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho, who is also the MCA Anti-Crime Campaign chairman, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye attended the event.
Also present at the gathering were the leaders of religious groups, including Islam, Taoist, Catholic, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist groups.
The evening downpour lightened to a drizzle just in time for the event to start on schedule.
After listening attentively to prayers and speeches by all the religious leaders and guests, the attendees lit white candles to symbolise “enlightening one's heart and spreading the seeds of love.”
The organisers also called on everyone to “speak good words, do good deeds and think good thoughts.”
Tan said crime prevention was a collective responsibility, and members of the community must play their part, too, and not just leave everything to the police force.
“We should also study the cause of the problem; hence, instilling the correct values and creating a loving society would be a long-term measure,” he said.
“I love everybody, and everybody loves me – this is our ultimate objective. Social harmony is our asset that cannot be bought,” he added.
He said it was worrying that more than 600 cases were recorded nationwide every day. A total of 130,457 cases were reported from January to July this year, which is a 11.31% increase over the 117,200 cases in the corresponding period last year.
In Kuala Lumpur, 15,653 cases were reported from January to August compared to 14,296 cases in the corresponding period last year, marking a 9.5% increase, he said.
Musa said he was touched by the effort to call all religious groups to come together to prevent crime, and it also reflected the community's support for the police force.
He urged all members of society to be the ears and eyes of the police, and participate in the Rakan Cop programme simply by tipping off the police with their electrical communication devices.
“We have identified 800 policemen who are doing administrative work, to conduct patrolling, and some of them have already begun,” he said.
“We are also getting the chiefs in all the areas to work with the residents' associations on crime prevention. We are getting more equipment to strengthen our force, too,” he said, adding that the police had just received 500 patrol cars the day before.
Buddha's Light International Association headquarters president Revd Hsin Ting said petty crime would have a big impact on the country's reputation and economy, that would eventually result in a vicious cycle of suffering for its citizens, including the culprits themselves.
“Education is the key to rooting out the problem, and in a society, religion is the teacher,” he added.