Gangsterism in the Indian Community

Posted on June 7, 2010

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Moderator’s note : This was submitted for publication by one who signed off as An Undergraduate in University of Malaya.

The facts and details have not been verified by the moderator, and as such readers may wish to undertake such verification on their own.

This essay is published unedited here to facilitate rationale discussion of the subject-matter raised by the author.

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They are the minority in this community yet they contribute to a high crime rate. A visit to Simpang Renggam may explain to you better where the chunk of Indian community is.

Writing it with a proper statistics, we can list them as 7.5 percent of the population in Malaysia, 60 percent crimes belong to this community and they contribute to 14 percent of the population in prisons.

Frankly speaking, as a minority, they should be able to have a good control of their group. The smaller, the better. However, it seems to be vice verse in this matter. So, I decided to do little yet sufficient ‘homework’ on this. After few reading, flipping through statistics, gathering of information from reliable sources, I compiled all of them in a piece of writing and that’s what you are reading now.

One thing that is obvious that there is no proper statistics on these ‘secret groups'(Gangs) because as time goes on, the groups evolve and change. Frequently, sub gangs are formed. Thus, any statistics to gauge gangsterism would have less use because the number changes often (unless there is someone who is constantly keeping track). Example of groups which are sustaining up to date are

1. Geng 04

2. Geng 08

3. Geng 24

4. Geng 303

5. Geng 18

6. Geng 36

The figure represents the amount you pay as ‘protection’. For example if you belong to ‘Geng 04’, you pay RM4 per month and so on.

Each gang has sub-gangs. For example, Geng 24 has Ranggi24, Satu Hati 24 and so on as the sub gangs (These are the branches)

Whether the gang sustains or not depends on the leader. If the leader is caught, most probably the gang will set to ‘sleep mode’ until a new leader takes over.

Where, Why, How

The grass root of gangsterism is secondary school. The supply begins from secondary school. Zooming down to this issue, there some other things swim up to the surface. Low achievers meaning students who are performing below average academically seem to stand a ‘good chance’ to be groomed as gangsters. Mostly, these guys are from ‘peralihan’ classes. Some are forced into gangsterism while some choose to be part of the gang.In many cases, students who have low self esteem and who are lacking of personal awareness are the target. At school, they are usually marginalized because not many teachers are concern about them. Well, it is obvious that these students are labeled as ‘problem makers’. These students usually need attention. They need someone to invest trust in them and inject some confidence in them, telling them they too can succeed. While they are tail less, has no goals in life, they find short cuts to make them self good or at least impress the girls. So they kick start behaving as ‘macho guys’ by committing small crimes at school. At this point, the network between these students and the ‘hardcore’ gangsters start to evolve. At one corner, the parents lose tracks on what are the kids doing. This is the point where they take a step higher. Network with hardcore gangster is established. They meet up, agree to be the member with the agreed amount. Once they are part of the team, they progress. Crimes that they commit set a benchmark for the progress. More crimes they commit, better position in the gang.

Meanwhile, some try to get some pocket money through gang activities. Usually these gangs at a bigger scale commit robbery, drug trafficking, and etc. They are also ‘orang kanan’ for some ‘Important people’. The members are groomed in a way to receive and act as how their ‘important people’ have instructed, of course for a ‘big money’. In this context, they are involved in murdering (Sounds like a Tamil Movie but that’s the reality here). Students are usually involved in drug trafficking Recalling one of the conversations with 17 year-old boy when I attended a meeting with a NGO, he was a drug addict. He started to indulge in drugs in the age of 13. He then was involved in drug trafficking. He said he was earning around RM300 one day. However, he was unable to sustain his ‘luxuries’ due to his addiction.

Putting the thoughts clearer there is two strong root that contributes to gangsterism, namely, POVERTY and GOVERNMENT POLICIES. Lacking of parental guidance, peer pressure and etc are secondary factors.

In truth, Indian community’s social and political mobility have been thwarted by the government including MIC the sop called rep of Malaysian Indians. In the Indian community, rich is getting richer while poor is getting poorer. The middle class family is neither there or here. The main problem is the people at grass root which forms the bulk of the Indian society. The problem is there is hardly a connection and communication between the affluent & middle income group with these poor people. Indirectly, this reflects the lacking of social commitment among Indians, let alone the government as a foregone conclusion.

Moreover, our education system focuses on high achievers. Indirectly, low achievers (where you can see our boys there) are swept out. Although skill training and other options are available, these guys are clueless especially after they graduated from high school. What they need is a bit of confidence and a pinch of feeling good. Many times, there are few sources in this economically strengthen Chinese and politically favoured Malays for these Indians. So who do they turn to? Some tend to be lucky to bump with the right person who actually shows them the way to live while many are dragged far into the well of crimes. If we can show and be fair to these people, I am certain in the future, the problem will not repeat. Grooming a person is equivalent to grooming a family.

Amarjit Kaur, professor of Economic History, University of New England, Australia mentioned in her research that social problems should not be viewed as an isolated problems. It goes parallel with economy. When the economy and the well being of Indians are threathen, it gives an impact on the social compartment for all.

Personally I believe that this is the time where we need to bridge the gap between the well doing, middle group and the grass root people.Gangsterism in our community has reached to a point where there is no turning back due to public policy and our own attitude to address this problem rather than branding them with Malaysian Indians. Time to look at this matter with a serious plan.