Barely a week after the 14th custodial death this year, the country has faced yet another one.
The Bukit Aman Integrity and Standard Compliance Department announced in a brief statement that the victim is a 45-year-old Malay male who was held on remand at the Kajang police station under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952. He was in police custody after pleading not guilty to the offence.
An assistant medical officer confirmed that the deceased was found dead en route to the hospital after suffering what police officers suspected was a seizure.
The director of Bukit Aman’s Integrity Department, Azri Ahmad, stated that the event occurred yesterday.
He explained that the prison employees notified the hospital of the occurrence at 10.32am yesterday, and health officers arrived around ten minutes later to check on the man before transferring him to the hospital.
“He was held in the Kajang police station for a short time before being transferred to the Beranang facility on remand,” he added.
His department’s Criminal Investigations and Custodial Deaths Unit is currently investigating the situation.
The official cause of death has yet to be determined.
MUDA has since requested prison improvements, such as the formation of a medical unit at each police station.
According to Luqman Long, the party’s communication chief, only five of Malaysia’s 400 jails have such units, citing a report by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission.
In a statement released today, he noted that this amount is insufficient to guarantee the health of all detainees.
Luqman also believes that independent organisations should be allowed to investigate fatalities in custody. He also pushed for the creation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as soon as practicable.
He stated that rather than being a danger to the force, the IPCMC should be considered as a step toward increasing police integrity, and that this is an urgent step to curb the loss of innocent lives.
The 2021 Human Rights Report published by the US Embassy in Malaysia has also highlighted the issue of custodial deaths, bringing up gruesome past cases including the demise of security guard S. Sivabalan in Gombak, and lorry driver Umar Abdullah in Klang.