CFM MEDIA STATEMENT
The CFM views with great alarm the reported three deaths in police custody over the past 11 days from May 21st to June 1st. These three men were remanded for police investigations but met untimely deaths in the police lockups in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Tampin.
The names of N. Dhamendran, R. Jamesh Ramesh and P. Karuna Nithi are now etched in our minds as among many other Malaysians who have died while in police custody in recent times. The government owes their grieving families and all Malaysians a full and proper explanation. Our prayers are with the grieving families.
The previous Minister of Home Affairs had stated that between 2000 and Sept 2012, 209 persons had died in police custody. There were a further four deaths in police custody in the remainder of 2012. There have been eight deaths in police custody since January this year. This makes for a total of 221 deaths in custody. In other words, we have an average of more than one custodial death per month.
This is an abominable statistic and a shocking state of affairs, for which the government must be held accountable. There can be no cover-up. Those who are guilty of negligence and even of torture should be speedily charged in court. More than that, the government must put in place effective and transparent measures and operating procedures to ensure that these deaths in custody do not recur. Those who are vested with the power to maintain the security of our country must equally ensure the safety and well-being of those who are held in police cells pending investigations.
The CFM urges our legislators to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) which was recommended by the Royal Police Commission Report in 2005 forthwith as among many other measures which can be undertaken to reduce police custodial deaths. The Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC) by its own admission has not been able to address the issue satisfactorily.
In order to enhance confidence, we call upon all law-abiding police officers to stand with the rakyat against those who would tarnish the image and reputation of the police force. Malaysians deserve a police force with integrity in whom we can trust.
Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng,
Chairman and the Executive Committee,
The Christian Federation of Malaysia