MALAYSIANS are generally a caring lot and will go all out to help victims of crime and accidents, but there are also some who are indifferent.
Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said whether one offered help or not to victims, depended on the circumstances surrounding a particular situation.
“Civic-minded Malaysians do step forward to assist victims although we have received complaints from snatch-theft victims that passersby did nothing to help them when they screamed for help.
“Some people have the attitude of why should I help when it did not happen to my family, friends or I, while others do not help because they do not want to get hurt, in case the perpetrator is armed,” he told The Star.
Lee said in most snatch theft cases, the pillion rider on a motorcycle usually carried out the job as the rider waited to flee, once the job was completed.
Snatch thieves who were on foot, were easier to apprehend and such instances had been reported numerous times before, he said.
“But even if passersby are unable to catch the thief, it is always important to attend to the victim, who may have sustained injuries in the process.
“This is a matter of life and death as we have come across victims who injure their heads as they fall to the ground and end up in a coma and die afterwards,” he added.
Lee was commenting on the recent brutal gang rape of 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh Pandey on a bus in New Delhi, India.
The victim’s male friend had recounted how passersby failed to come to their rescue, after they were thrown out of a moving bus following the attack.
Jyoti Singh succumbed to her injuries at the Singapore Hospital, after being in and out of coma, weeks later.
In Malaysia, it was reported last July that seven people had walked past 60-year-old snatch theft victim Tan Kim Chuan as she lay unconscious on the road with a cracked skull at the Rifle Range Flats in Penang.
Crime analyst Kamal Affendi Hashim said there were two categories of people, those who want to help and those who are mere spectators.
“For example, when the media reports on crime cases, especially rape cases, some people respond by voicing their opinion on what needs to be done to curb the crime while the rest just want to read the juicy details.
“Another example of how you can tell the character of the person is when they have pornographic material in their possession.
“Would they delete it or share it with others?” he said.
Kamal Affendi said criminals were “colour blind” and did not choose their victims, according to race.
Meanwhile, several people interviewed told The Star they would not think twice about helping those who were injured or required help.
Student Kalvinderjeet Kaur, 17, said she would never be able to sleep in peace if she did not offer assistance to someone asking for help.
“The least I can do is call the police or the ambulance,” she said, adding it was inhumane to let the person suffer all alone.
Village development officer Wah Fang Yi, 41, said she managed to help an accident victim a few months ago.
“I got the person to get up from the road and sit at a safer place before getting help from others.
“I wonder how some people can just walk past a victim and act as if these people who desperately need help, are invisible,” said the mother of three.