Malaysia Violent Crime Wave Escalates With Shootings, Car Blast

One man was executed at a traffic light, another shot four times by motorcycle assassins and a third had explosives detonated in his Jaguar car in separate incidents around Malaysia, the Star newspaper reported today.

While gun ownership is restricted, public shootings have surged to almost one a day since July 26, according to data compiled by police. Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged to boost resources for fighting violent crime and introduce additional legislation in parliament after AMMB Holdings Bhd. founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi was shot dead in a car park last week.

Early today, a 37-year-old ethnic Indian man was gunned down at point-blank range at a traffic light while driving in Malaysia’s northern city of Penang, the Star said, citing police Assistant Commissioner Gan Kong Meng. Separately, a 29-year-old man is recovering after being shot by motorcyclists while driving in Ipoh late yesterday, the newspaper reported, citing police Assistant Commissioner Sum Chang Keong.

In Kuala Lumpur, the rear end of a Jaguar belonging to an unidentified restaurant and nightclub-owner was damaged by explosives on Aug. 6, the Star reported today, citing police. The case has been classified as attempted murder, it said.

The surge in violence is partly due to the abolition of the Emergency Ordinance in 2011, which led to 2,600 hardcore criminals and gang members being released from detention, the malaymailonline reported July 9, citing Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in parliament. Najib repealed the law, which allowed suspects to be detained for as long as two years without trial, in a bid to boost civil liberties.

Temple Killing

Voters cited crime and social problems as their biggest concern after the economy in a survey of 1,018 people conducted in December by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. Najib’s coalition was returned to power in May’s general election by its narrowest margin since independence from Britain in 1957.

Police said this week they detained four people after Najadi, a Bahrain-born banker, was gunned down by suspected contract killers near a temple in the Malaysian capital on July 29. The 75-year-old businessman formed Arab-Malaysian Development Bank Bhd. in 1975, selling out after seven years. The institution went on to become AMMB, now Malaysia’s fifth-largest lender by market value.

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