Sunday, September 27

Society turning greedy?

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KUALA LUMPUR: Is it true that some of us are not concerned over other people’s ‘woes’? Is our society, known for its courtesy and politeness, has now turned greedy?

Last February, the whole nation was in disgust after reading about the vain pleas of trailer-lorry driver Ahmad Rozlin Ahmad Murad. His pleas were for passers-by to help his friend and co-driver, whose body was pinned in the vehicle.

The trailer-lorry was earlier involved in a road crash. Ahmad Rozlin’s pleas were ignored as some passers-by were more concerned with grabbing rice sacks that had fallen from the trailer-lorry.

A month earlier, a 4-wheel drive vehicle that carried more than RM$70,000 in coins crashed at KM 244, North-South Highway near the Pedas exit.

What happened afterwards was a ‘rush and grab’ for the coins by passers-by who had stopped their vehicles, despite the vain pleas from the 4-wheel-drive vehicle’s driver.

The rush and grab ‘carnival’ did not stop despite the presence of the traffic police and highway personnel there.

Fortunately the crash victims escaped with light injuries. Another similar incident happened the same month. A van carrying a consignment of yoghurt drink (a well-known brand) crashed at KM 424.9 of the North-South Highway near Bukit Tagar.

What had happened next? Several drivers of other vehicles stopped but not to help the victims. Instead they were busy picking the yoghurt containers.

These incidents had drawn the public’s response including that from the ulama and intellectuals.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Dr Harrussani Zakaria, according to news report, said the money taken was ‘haram’ and must be returned to its rightful owner.

The adviser to Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAIJ) Datuk Nooh Gadut had similar views.

He said the passers-by should have assisted the victims and returned the money instead of taking advantage over the situation. He said the incident should not have happened in a Muslim nation like Malaysia.

What is happening to the Malaysian society? It is only nine years to go for Malaysians to achieve Vision 2020. We are also in the midst of making the 1Malaysia concept a success. But is our society ready for these objectives?

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Social Science lecturer Dr Intan Hashimah Mohd Hashim said she viewed the incidents in two aspects.

First, the factor that passers-by failed to help accident victims.

Second, why people were willing to steal/take away items from the scene of accidents? According to the social science expert, such attitude has got nothing to do with the courteous Malaysian values but more of the ‘by-stander effect’.

Social psychology studies have shown that the inclination to help would be reduced due to the presence of many people at the scene.

“The presence of many people at the scene may make a person to feel that the responsibility of helping the victims does not fall on his shoulders alone.

“In fact many would feel that other people should be helping the victims instead of himself. Hence they are reluctant to help”.  — Bernama