Deaths in Police Custody: Official statistics from Parliament continues to show high figures.


SUARAM continued to be concerned about the lack of accountability for this serious violation of the right to life.

In replying to written question from Member of Parliament from Padang Serai, N.Surendran regarding the statistics of deaths in police custody for the year 2011 until June 2013, the Home Ministry has revealed some startling information.

Statistics of deaths in police custody from 2011 until Jun 2013 (from parliamentary response)

Year Total
2011 17
2012 19
Jun 2013 12
Total 48

It is extremely alarming that the information provided by the Home Ministry seems to be much higher in reality than information that has been available publicly so far.  SUARAM’s own media monitoring and documentation had recorded only 10 cases of deaths in custody in 2011 and nine cases for the year 2012.

Statistics of deaths in police custody from 2011 until Jun 2013 according to their ethnicity (from parliamentary response)

Year Malay Chinese Indian Others Foreigners Total
2011 11 3 1 2 17
2012 4 4 6 2 3 19
Jun 2013 1 2 5 4 12
Total 16 9 12 2 9 48

These statistics once again highlights the need for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). Many Malaysians across the nation had called for this when Dharmendran was found dead in the IPK Kuala Lumpur, with staples still attached to his ear. Subsequently there were 3 deaths in custody which occurred within a span of 11 days in the month of May and early Jun 2013. However, these calls have fallen on deaf years and it seems that we are back to square one again.

SUARAM would like raise the following questions to the government and we want to get some answers immediately:

1.      What is the outcome of the Bukit Aman special committee formed to take steps in order to prevent deaths in police lock-ups?

2.      What has happened to the permanent coroner’s court suggestion made on the 19 Jun 2013 during the Cabinet meeting?

3.      The existing Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) reported that they will investigate the deaths of Dharmendran and Jamesh Ramesh. Is there any feedback or progress report on these investigations?

SUARAM believed that the authorities never had any intention to implement the various public commitments and promises they made towards improving police accountability. They were basically a “public relations stunt” to deal with the public outrage of the many deaths in custody

SUARAM stand firm on the need for an effective oversight body to specifically receive complaints about abuses by the police force, has the powers to investigate these complaints and ensure that that those involved in such violations face criminal charges for the crimes that have perpetrated.

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