UCSI University’s 2nd Psychology Seminar: Understanding the Minds of Criminals

UCSI University’s 2nd Psychology Seminar: Understanding the Minds of Criminals


The increase usage of gadgets among the public has extended the potential for people to commit crime. These crimes can be in the form of robbery, rape, sexual harassment or child abuse. Former Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun in his statement stated the advancement of technologies has made it difficult for the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to combat crimes happening in Malaysia, thus, making it a disturbing issue for the public.

Determined to discuss this rising issue further, the UCSI’s Psychology department under the Faculty of Social Sciences and Liberal Art (FoSSLA), successfully conducted UCSI’s 2nd Psychology Seminar Crime and Psychopathology & three-minute thesis competition at UCSI College, on 27th July 2019.

The seminar was organised for participants to understand what goes on the criminal’s mind aside from understanding their genetic, biological, psychological and social tendencies. Moreover, the seminar was conducted to ensure that the public are aware of their surroundings apart from creating an opportunity for Psychology students to understand how their field of study is implemented in the real working world.

The informative seminar kicked off with an enlightening presentation by Dr Mohammad Rahim Kamaluddin, a criminologist and senior lecturer from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. His presentation was entitled “Psycho-Criminogenic Assessment” and he discussed the meaning of psychopathology and how much at risk we are when it comes to committing crime.

In his presentation, he stated that most of us have the tendency to commit crime whether we realise it or not. Hence, in verifying his statement, Dr Rahim conducted a simple test of answering 8 Likert scale questions for participants and lecturers to find out their tendencies in committing crime.

The results showed that most of the participants were above average proving the statement to be true. He then continued his presentation in making the participants to understand more about how the test results can be used to predict one’s personality.

In the context of psychology as a career, Psychology Officer of Criminal Investigation Department D11, Bukit Aman, Ms. Kogilavaani Elawarise indicated that majority of their tasks at the Victim Care Centre (VCC) is to help victims and their family members recover from any psychological disturbance apart from assisting them to carry on with their daily lives in a mentally, emotionally and physically healthy manner.

“VCC was established to help heavily impacted victims. Though there are other cases, most of the incidents related to victims at VCC are mostly because of the usage of smartphones. Children, especially, are more vulnerable to pedophiles. Often, pedophiles used social media to fulfill their needs without caring about the effect of it to the innocent children,” she said.

“Prevention should start with the parents and please do not take it lightly when something happens to your child. It is better if the parents can regularly ask their children’s welfare,” she added.

In addition, she explained that crime can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone in relation to some of the cases that she has handled before. Thus, she elucidated that we need to be more conscious with our surroundings particularly the children as they are an easy target.

“We can do everything including providing comfort, shelter, and support system to help the children in getting their old life back but I would strongly say that everything starts from the home. Parents should be more aware and alert about the condition of their children,” she clarified.

Fakultas Psikologi Universitas Mercu Buana, Indonesia’s business psychologist, trainer and educator, Dr. Amy Mardhatillah focused more on how we can promote a change of behaviour to prevent crime from happening at the workplace.

She said that most of the crimes happened at the workplace is due to the lack of rational factors apart from having an opportunity to commit the crime. It is a state where people use illegal methods in ensuring that they get their desired goal.

Therefore, Dr. Amy explained that there are four steps used in achieving goals after the analysis of employee coaching which are goal, reality, ideas and do. Goals is where the employee understands what they wanted to achieve and uses any possible means (do) to obtain their desired goals.

UCSI’s final year Psychology student, Baanusrri M. Murugiah responded that she was very pleased to participate in the seminar as she gained a broader perspective in her field of study.

“The speakers were great and I am absolutely astounded by the fact that there are Victim Care Unit (VCC) that actually provide services of what I am learning currently. The crime test by Dr Rahim was amazing because I did not know that we can actually measure our risk level to commit crime,” she said.

When asked about her hope for the future, she added, “We need a more open-minded society when it comes to crime because not only adults but children are also vulnerable to it. As what Ms. Kogi shared in some of her cases involving children, the implementation of sex education is a need in Malaysia. I hope that our country can have our own forensic psychology team in preventing crimes.”

Baanusrri also said that the educators need to have a seminar session with the psychologists to understand people’s personality better as it can be interrelated with the tendency to commit crimes.

The opening speech was officiated by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts dean, Professor Dr Shameem Rafik-Galea. In her speech, she stressed that it is very important to address crimes as it can happen to all levels of people. Thus, there is a need to understand the minds of the criminals.

The seminar ended with a prize-giving ceremony to the winners of the 3-minutes thesis competition, token of appreciation to the speakers and a group photo with all participants including lecturers before tea.