The government has set the target of reducing street crimes by 20 per cent by the end of next year, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced Monday.

He said the government viewed with concern the need to check crime and, as such, had decided to make crime reduction one of the national key results areas (NKRA).

“The NKRA on crime reduction is divided into three parts, the first being street crimes which strike fear and trauma in families and the general public,” he said when addressing members of the administration and civil service staff as well as staff of government-linked companies (GLCs) at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), here.

Street crimes, he said, included snatch thefts and unarmed robberies.

Najib said statistics showed that street crimes made up 17 per cent of crime on the overall crime index for 2008.

“Four main areas — Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Johor — have been identified as the hot spots for this type of crime. It has been found that these places recorded 72 per cent of the overall street crimes in 2008. As such, the government has set the target to reduce street crimes by 20 per cent by the end of 2010,” he said.

The second task, he said, was to improve the people’s perception of public order whereby existing voluntary organisations, particularly the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela), would be strengthened with adequate training given to members in a more organised manner.

It would also include standardisation of the uniform so that these organisations could join forces with the police to help fight street crimes, he said.

“In this effort, the relevant police stations will be upgraded and the necessary equipment will be provided. Besides, patrols and preventive measures will be stepped up, along with the installation of additional closed circuit television cameras (CCTV),” he said.

In upgrading the performance of the enforcement agencies, the Home Ministry would work with the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Prime Minister’s Department to consider ways to expedite the legal process in the matter of backlogged cases, for example, in setting up a tribunal or special court to handle offences related to street crimes.

In announcing the KPIs for the fight against corruption, the prime minister said corruption had to be checked before it became cancerous.

“Transparency International ranked Malaysia on 47th position last year in its Corruption Perception Index, down from the 39th position of 2004. As such, the government is determined to streamline the relevant policies, procedures and enforcement to ensure that Malaysia’s ranking improves in the future.

In widening access to quality and affordable education, Najib said the government would give priority to making available the best education from the pre-school level and that, as such, pre-school education would be made a part of the national education system in the main stream.

“Like it or not, it is a loss when you have school-going children who have yet to master reading or writing skills when they leave school.

“I have decided that all normal school-going children are able to master reading, writing and arithmetic skills by the time they progress to Year Four in the primary school, by the end of 2012,” he said.

Najib said the government would offer a “new deal” to all principals and head teachers by rewarding them based on the achievement of their respective schools.

Besides, he added, as a pioneer project, 100 schools in various categories would be identified to be turned into high performance schools.

“In this way, we will provide for a conducive teaching and learning environment as well as encourage collaboration between the public and private sectors to drive the achievement of students,” he said, adding that these plans would be implemented in the three years before the end of 2012.

Najib also said that from January next year, all welfare aid to the people would be paid on the first of the month under the NKRA for raising the living standard of the low-income people.

The government had also decided to increase the number of women entrepreneurs to 4,000 by 2012 through the Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia programme, he said.

He said that up to June this year, 717 women with the potential to be guided to become entrepreneurs under the programme had been identified.

In upgrading infrastructure in the rural and interior regions, the prime minister said plans had been made to build 750km of rural roads in Sabah and Sarawak by the end of next year but this would be doubled to 1,500km.

“This will involve an allocation of RM4 billion and the project will be completed before the end of 2012. The roads to be built are of three categories, paved, gravel and laterite, which will provide communication facilities to almost two million rural people in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

As for Peninsular Malaysia, during the same period, the rural road network would be upgraded to ensure that the furthest distance that anyone lived from a paved road was five kilometres.

“This will involve an allocation of RM1 billion, which means the total allocation necessary for the basic infrastructure up to 2012 is RM5 billion,” said Najib, who is also finance minister.

On the supply of clean water in Sabah and Sarawak, he said immediate action would be taken to raise piped water coverage to 90 per cent in both states by the end of 2012, and that for this purpose RM2 billion had been allocated and that the project was expected to benefit 60,000 households.

“In view of the low coverage of electricity supply in Sabah and Sarawak, 80 per cent respectively compared to 99 per cent in the peninsula, the government has targeted to raise the coverage in both the states to 95 per cent respectively by the end of 2012.

“A total of RM3.9 billion will be allocated for this purpose, and the project will benefit 80,000 dwellings. The government also plans to provide round-the-clock electricity supply to 7,000 Orang Asli homes in the peninsula by the end of 2012,” he said.

He also said that the government planned to provide more comfortable housing to the poor by building and renovating 50,000 units of houses nationwide by the end of 2012.

In improving public transportation, Najib said Transport Ministry statistics showed that only 16 per cent of the people in the Klang Valley used the public transportation system.

“Therefore, the government has targeted to raise this to 25 per cent by the end of 2012. However, we should understand that raising the percentage involves a huge financial allocation in the long term.

“Nevertheless, as a start, I am announcing that by the end of 2012, an additional 35 sets of four-car trains would operate on the Kelana Jaya LRT (Light Rail Transit) route,” he said.