Larkin Walkabout

Tan Sri Dato Shahrir Abdul Samad with some residents
Finally my third installment on the lawless situation in Larkin Gardens, Keep Larkin Gardens safe, NST Johor Streets, 4 Dec 2012, managed to elicit a response from the authorities.  I was driving to Kluang last Saturday when my phone rang and I was pleasantly surprised that the caller was Member of Parliament for JB, Tan Sri Dato’ Shahrir Abdul Samad.  It’s not every day that a Tan Sri phoned me and rarer still that he wanted to visit me at home!

I’m glad that my appeals for help in Larkin, also written in Boost Police patrols in Larkin Gardens, please, NST Johor Streets, 23 October 2009 and Resolve problems in Larkin Gardens, NST Johor Streets, 30 July 2012, did not fall on deaf ears.  I was calling for more Police patrols and protection because intruders robbed us for the third time in six months, adding our home to the list of rampant robberies in this neighbourhood.  It was ironic that while I was still seeking the authority’s attention, our neighbours continued to be robbed one after another, not only in the veil of darkness but even in broad daylight!

The metal grille in this neighbour's
driveway was stolen before and
this is its replacement!
One night I was awakened by the roar of a speeding motorcycle followed by a commotion in our immediate neighbour’s house and the sound of another speeding motorbike.  I soon learnt that robbers managed to steal the brand new motorcycle which their nephew just acquired and even though the boys tried to give chase, they lost track of the robbers.  They returned shocked and disappointed at their loss and it was a sleepless night in the neighbourhood as we were stunned at how slick these robbers are!

The new neighbour who recently bought over a property one door away had building materials assembled for renovation work but it was a magnet for those greedy thieves who intruded into his compound, not once – not twice but three times in a week.  After they stole lengths of iron rods and metal scaffolding, the house-owner instructed his workers to live in and guard their materials.  However, when the workers stepped out, the thieves came in again to cart off their gas cylinder and other metal items!

The residents in our neighbourhood have followed police advice to lock up and light up the front and rear of our homes as a deterrent to intruders.  All this was still ineffective probably because it was not complemented by Police patrols and their visible presence in the neighbourhood.  As the nasty intruders were still boldly coming into our lighted compounds, it came to a point when I wondered – who’ll be their next victim?

Tan Sri Shahrir [4th from Left] meeting residents in our friendly, multi-racial neighbourhood
It didn’t take long to answer that question because the very next morning, we learnt that our neighbour two doors away, discovered that his metal drain covers were stolen.  The robbers seem to be systematically stripping us of any valuable metal because they intruded into that same house again – this time in the afternoon – removed the hanging garments and dumped them aside before carrying the metal clothes stand away!  This recent incident was not only disturbing but infuriating because our privacy was violated over and over again while the robbers’ are boldly coming and stealing from us!

A patrol car of Police also turned up!  The corporal
is holding copies of the residents' Police reports.
With such lawlessness happening in our neighbourhood, I did not hesitate to welcome Tan Sri Dato’ Shahrir to come and meet the residents, and hear a first-hand account of their horrific experiences.  Shahrir certainly had an earful from the residents who told him about how they had gold necklaces snatched when the robbers rushed into their compounds, the loss of metal pots and trays in addition to the stolen metal drain covers and their constant fear of being mugged and robbed.  He also patiently listened to their comments about sewage and drainage problems as well as the danger of speeding traffic to students in the nearby schools along Jalan Dato Jaafar.

A passing heavy downpour did not deter Shahrir from his walkabout and he paused near the entrance to the adjacent village that has a charity home for the aged and a population of foreign immigrants, to look at a few ancient Chinese graves.  Some residents suspect that the robbers may flee and hide in this area which is virtually a labyrinth that no longer has a through-road for vehicles to Jalan Kebun Teh.  It is also common knowledge that there is a food outlet in the village which is a popular hang-out for Police personnel and just as Shahrir and the residents was chatting by the road, a Police van passed and its occupants waved at Shahrir without pausing and drove directly into the village!

Recently the Police are more visible and a
 Police van was spotted parked in Larkin Gardens!
It was again so ironic that while residents are desperate for Police presence and protection, we finally witnessed no less than two Police personnel in our neighbourhood but they were clearly not on duty.  Aware of this embarrassing gaffe, someone alerted the Larkin Police Station and in minutes, a patrol car of Policemen turned up to meet Shahrir and the residents.  

Finally, the residents had the full attention of the Police and they seized the opportunity to show the corporal, copies of their Police reports and appealed for their help to put an end to the rampant robberies in this neighbourhood.

That same night, the Police set up a roadblock and have been making their presence known, sometimes by sounding their siren, when they patrolled the area.  On behalf of the residents, I wish to thank Shahrir and the Police for showing an interest in our plight and taking the first step in the right direction to keep this neighbourhood safer.  The lawlessness in Larkin is just the tip of the iceberg because the same is happening in older residential areas like Taman Century, Taman Melodies and Taman Kebun Teh and residents are eagerly anticipating the authorities’ next positive steps to help us live in comfort and security again. 

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 24 January 2013

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