The unnatural custodial deaths involving India-origin people in Malaysia will be taken up by the Cabinet, according to reports.
The Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar had brushed aside the third custodial death in 11 days stating it as 'unfortunate', drawing wide spread protests from the Malaysian Indian community. The issue has launched the Malaysian police in one of the major public relations crisis ever.
Cabinet Minister Paul Low Seng Kuan had earlier met with the representatives of Malaysian Indian non-governmental organizations and assured to take up the issue on Wednesday, according to Malaysian Star.
There have been eight custodial death cases reported this year, the latest being that of P. Karuna Nithi, a Malaysian Indian, on June 1.
It was on Saturday that 42-year-old Nithi had died while in custody at Tampin District Police Headquarters. Nithi was arrested on 28 May, when he went to the police headquarters to lodge a complaint, according to the Malay Mail.
On 26 May, R. Jamesh Ramesh, an unemployed man, was found dead at the Penang jail. Police cited liver failure as the reason of his death.
His demise follows that of N. Dhamendran's on 21 May who was under remand at the Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters. Police said that the 31-year old had died of breathing difficulties, while the post-mortem report revealed that he had been tortured. The case was classified as murder and the police officers who were alleged to have tortured him were given desk duties, triggering further outrage.
Task force set up
Following the deaths of Dhamendran and Jamesh Ramesh, the Enforcement Agency integrity commission (EAIC) had set up a task force to probe into the deaths. EAIC secretary and Chief executive Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar had assured to look into all possible angles leading to the deaths, in a meeting to be held on 11 June.
Three officers convicted
Meanwhile, three police officers have been convicted of murder under Penal code 302 for causing the death of detainee N. Dhamendran. The accused convicted are Jaffri Jaafar (44), Mohd Nahar (45) and Mohd Haswadi Zamri Shaari (32). The fourth accused officer in the case is roaming at large, thestar.com reported.
Marry Mariya Susay, Dhamendran's wife, expressed her satisfaction that the suspects were appropriately charged. "Why did they try to cover this up, saying he suffocated, saying he had a heart attack? Now the coroner's report is out, only then they are taking action." said Susay.