The rise of Marah people

WITH the recent spate of crime in the city, many Malaysians are getting increasingly vocal in expressing their unhappiness and displeasure over it.

One of them is social media strategist and blogger Dave Avran, who started Malaysians Against Rape, Assault and snatcH (Marah), a civilian-initiated campaign that aims to “get back Malaysia”.

Dave, who blogs at Spanking DA Monkey, said the movement had gathered more than 1,300 petitioners in two weeks since it started on July 1.

“We hope to achieve increased awareness among the public about personal safety as well as make our elected representatives, Federal and state governments take the necessary steps through this campaign to ensure people’s safety,” he said.

Top of Marah’s priority list is the focus on crimes against women.

Since May 28, 13 cases had taken place with seven in the Petaling Jaya Selatan district.

“Our Government can make the public feel safe by being proactive, in view of the recent spate of attacks. The police have already done so by moving fast and arresting some of the perpetrators in these cases,” Dave said.

While the police have also given advice to shopping centres on security measures at carparks, Dave feels the latter should not hide behind its “indemnity” disclaimers.

He said Marah intended to work together with the Government and relevant authorities to achieve their objectives.

He said that despite the recent report about the decrease in crime rate, people still felt unsafe out there.

“Malaysia is ranked as the safest country in South-East Asia and placed at number 20 on the recent Global Peace Index.

“A international survey from an Transnational Institute found there are two to three murders per 100,000 people in Malaysia as compared to six in Norway and eight in the United States,” he said.

“However, people still feel unsafe. In the end, statistics are just numbers and it serves only as an indicator.

“Each and every Malaysian must do their part instead of complaining, blaming and pointing fingers. We have to look out for one another,” he said.

The name Marah speaks for itself and they are determined not to be sidetracked from their mission, as demonstrated by one of its membership clauses which bars politicians from joining.

“Yes, there has been numerous requests, including politicians who expressed their desire to join but we do not want our initiative to be hijacked and used in the run up to the general election,” Dave said, adding that the group also wanted to address the non-action of elected representatives in certain crime hotspots.

As to the exact description of Marah’s activities, he said they would be carrying out their work primarily through suggestions, feedback and its safety petition.

“However, we are not ruling out lobbying and acting as a pressure group if the need arises,” he added.

There will be safety campaigns, safety tips and demonstrations in collaboration with experts and professionals from all sectors, organised free of charge under Marah.

The group’s first citizen initiative will take place on July 24 where members will visit the Kuala Lumpur Police call response centre.

“We want to see first-hand their turnaround time dealing with distress calls,” Dave said.

Those who wish to find out more about Marah’s activities or sign the petition, can go to their Facebook page by looking for M A R A H (with space in between the alphabets) or check out Dave’s blog.

As of July 15, there are a total of 2,670 members on the group’s page.

The petition will be closed on Dec 31 and given to all elected representatives in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur as well as to the Federal Government.

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