IPOH: There is a growing trend of youths being hired as hit men in exchange for monthly salaries, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk T. Murugiah said.
These youths, he said, were also given assignments to injure their targets and also to rob or steal from others.
Murugiah said he had recently met a 19-year-old youth from Taiping who had gone to Kuala Lumpur to make a decent living.
"Instead, he was offered a job that involves killing others or injuring them, for example, by cutting off their hands, for a monthly salary of RM3,000 (S$1,265).
Murugiah said the youth had approached him for help after he had gone into hiding from his gang leader and the police who were hunting him down.
The gang leader wass believed to be after the youth after the latter decided to opt out of the activities.
"He was hiding from his gang leader as he wanted out as well as the police.
"Both were hunting him down at the same time," Murugiah, who also heads the Public Complaints Bureau, told reporters after opening a crime prevention talk for youths here Saturday.
The talk was organised by the Perak branch of the Federation of Malaysian Indian Associations with help from the police.
Murugiah said it was unacceptable and illogical for anyone to carry out crimes in order to make a living.
"Why is it that foreigners can actually make a living here but not them?
"It will be too late to take action after something has happened," he said, advising parents to keep a closer eye on their children regardless of their age.
He said the cause of the rising crime rate amongst youths was a result of busy parents who did not spend enough time to teach and nurture their children.
"Parents must at least call to check on their children. Ask them who they mix with and advice them.
"The police also have a role to play. Have more spies in the field to keep tabs on youths," he said.
Murugiah also urged employers to give jobs to youths so that they did not turn to crime.
"He was given photographs of his targets in order to carry out the job," he said.