A safer Malaysia

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Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat

DR Geshina ayu Mat saat be­lieves women fare bet­ter than men in her field.

“Women have bet­ter in­tu­ition and are more em­pa­thetic which I be­lieve makes us bet­ter crim­i­nol­o­gists,” says the lec­turer with univer­siti sains Malaysia’s Foren­sic sci­ence pro­gramme. “We are also bet­ter at mul­ti­task­ing and con­nect­ing the dots. Crim­i­nol­ogy is seen as a man’s field, but gen­der does not re­ally mat­ter. I have not found it harder as a woman.

“If any­one looks down at a fe­male crim­i­nol­o­gist, it is their prob­lem, not mine. I sim­ply ig­nore them and let my work speak for it­self.”

Dr Geshina’s in­ter­est in psy­chol­ogy was in­spired by her fa­ther, psy­chol­o­gist and fam­ily ther­a­pist Prof Datuk Dr Mat saat Baki.

“I think I knew since I was around five. My sis­ters and I used to fol­low my dad around when he gave psy­chol­ogy lec­tures. I ac­tu­ally learned a lot from hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing from him rather than in classes at univer­sity,” she says.

upon com­plet­ing her de­gree in psy­chol­ogy, Dr Geshina was of­fered a choice of post­grad­u­ate schol­ar­ship for ei­ther crim­i­nol­ogy or foren­sic psy­chol­ogy by usM. she chose crim­i­nol­ogy.

“My train­ing is eclec­tic, re­ally. as I said, I had ex­po­sure to psy­chol­ogy since I was young. I know about law, medicine, so­ci­ol­ogy, hu­man re­sources, psy­cho­met­rics, foren­sics, vi­o­lence, vic­tim­i­sa­tion, coun­selling ... be­cause th­ese are what un­der­pin crim­i­nol­ogy. When deal­ing with crim­i­nals, you need to know the laws and crim­i­nal pro­ce­dure codes, you need to know the psy­che of crim­i­nals and their so­cial sup­port and net­works and you also need to know their modus operandi in­clud­ing the tools and tech­nol­ogy that they use. I like learn­ing var­i­ous things and this field al­lows me to make use of my knowl­edge.

“I had my prac­ti­cal train­ing in Bri­tain and my field ex­pe­ri­ence in Malaysia,” says Dr Geshina who was born in aus­tralia and grew up in the united states. she moved back to Malaysia for her ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion be­fore go­ing to Bri­tain for her grad­u­ate and post-grad­u­ate ed­u­ca­tion.

not long af­ter ob­tain­ing her Mas­ters in ap­plied Crim­i­nol­ogy, Dr Geshina and her fa­ther were called upon to help the Pris­ons Depart­ment cre­ate the in-house re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for sex­ual of­fend­ers.

Crim­i­nol­ogy, she ex­plains, is the study of crime, crim­i­nals and their vic­tims. to a cer­tain ex­tent it also cov­ers pun­ish­ment for crimes com­mit­ted.

“the bulk of my work is teach­ing. I teach crim­i­nol­ogy, vi­o­lence and so­ci­ety, among other sub­jects and I also con­duct re­search which I en­joy very much. I have sev­eral on­go­ing re­search projects, most of which

in­volve the pro­fil­ing of var­i­ous types of crim­i­nals and vic­tims. Th­ese are joint re­search work with my post­grad­u­ate stu­dents.

“I also help the po­lice and prison au­thor­i­ties as­sess crim­i­nals and vic­tims, and pro­file crim­i­nals and their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion needs, when re­quested. I some­times ad­dress the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion needs of vic­tims, too. Crim­i­nol­o­gists can­not and should not sit in their ivory tow­ers. If we do so, how do we know what are the pub­lic’s con­cerns in mak­ing so­ci­ety safer? I am di­rectly in­volved with gov­ern­ment agen­cies like the po­lice,

“Pris­ons depart­ment, banks, or­gan­i­sa­tions like Unicef, the me­dia, hos­pi­tals, and the com­mu­nity in ad­dress­ing so­cial ills. Some­times, this in­volves re­views of Malaysian laws,” ex­plains Dr Geshina, who is based in Kota Baru, Ke­lan­tan.

Ul­ti­mately, Dr Geshina hopes she can con­trib­ute in mak­ing Malaysia a safer place for all.

“Crim­i­nol­ogy has a rip­ple ef­fect that touches upon other fields of knowl­edge. I get to see first­hand the changes in our so­ci­ety, thanks to the ad­vances in crim­i­nol­ogy. “The most ful­fill­ing thing about my job is be­ing able to help the po­lice and Pris­ons depart­ment and make Malaysia safer,” she says.

crim­i­nol­o­gist dr Geshina ayu be­lieves her ex­per­tise will make malaysia safer.

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