The lady who asked the question said that before she moved to Malaysia, she had been told that the neighbourhood here was safe and well maintained to meet the demands of the international community.
But she was upset after hearing that break-ins had taken place in condominiums. How did they get past the security guards and CCTV? she wanted to know.
The management of the condominiums in the area and police were of course not keen to splash such news in the media.
The Star subsequently reported that the wealthy living in the posh area were being targeted by burglars and robbers.
On March 11, an ex-wife of a prominent Tan Sri was robbed by four men armed with crowbars and they reportedly escaped with RM1.5mil worth of jewellery and RM50,000 cash. There have also been break-ins with the thieves getting away with smaller amounts.
That these crimes happened in gated properties with security guards and in flats where residents need access cards to get in is highly disturbing.
Brickfields OCPD Asst Comm Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid confirmed that a robbery occurred at about 6pm in a condominium with a 24-hour security. Everyone knows that all the condominiums in that area have round-the-clock security.
I am not sure whether the culprits have been caught as they were said to have bypassed the guards with a stolen or duplicate access card to enter the premises.
A month later, Sunrise Bhd, the biggest developer in the area, spearheaded a community-based campaign with the police. The campaign included conducting joint patrols by the police and auxiliary force, crime prevention talks, dialogues and exhibitions by the police.
Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said Sunrise was setting up an Intelligent Video Analytics system that could send alerts instantaneously in response to a crime.
That was before the kidnapping of 12-year-old Nayati Shamelin Moodliar last week, which attracted international attention.
Obviously there is now a greater need to assure the safety of the international community here. They would have heard about the numerous snatch thieves in Malaysia but this kidnapping incident would have jolted them. The bottom line is that after the kidnapping incident, Mont Kiara has lost its reputation as a safe place.
The population density at Mont Kiara has increased over the past years and the police beat there isn’t sufficient any more. Surely the force must consider upgrading to a fully-fledged police station now.
There are currently a total of 45 cameras in the area but more would be needed given the increase in people and traffic movement.
We cannot afford to have another kidnapping case involving a foreigner in Mont Kiara. If that happens, then Kuala Lumpur could be downgraded into the ranks of Manila where no one is safe in the streets.
I hope the police will see the seriousness of this whole episode.
The public still have high regard for the police in handling serious crimes.
When Nayati was kidnapped, many Malaysians found it hard to believe that a foreigner could be kidnapped and many were asking whether the family had offended anyone at work or whether it was a family-related case.
There was disbelief because when a foreigner is kidnapped, greater pressure is exerted on the police, who certainly would go the extra mile to pursue the kidnappers. The risk of the criminals being caught and killed by the police is greater, for sure.
There was even speculation that the kidnappers could be foreigners as there have been cases of Africans abducting other Africans in Kuala Lumpur. But now it has dawned on many that Malaysians could be involved although the police have not made any comments.
We believe the police will complete their task successfully. Despite the criticism of our men in blue’s handling of Bersih 3.0, where protesters and media personnel were assaulted, many of us recognise the work of the police in fighting serious crimes.
But they need to re-look their operations in Mont Kiara as it is Kuala Lumpur’s biggest international community enclave. They must be made to feel safe here; there can be no compromise on that. A lot is at stake to maintain our reputation and our efforts to attract the best and brightest brains to work here.