Police say it will work with other agencies to eliminate custodial deaths

There have been 19 cases of custodial deaths in Malaysia this year.

According to the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP), the breakdown of cases from January till today are:

  • Nine deaths in lockups
  • Eight deaths while in hospital
  • Two deaths while suspects were being taken to hospital

This comes as police officials met with representatives from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) yesterday.

Suhakam representatives were taken to the central lockup at the Shah Alam District Police Headquarters in Selangor to get a closer look at the operations.

In a statement by police today, representatives from the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) – a non-governmental organisation – also took part in the visit.

Centhra earlier this month, had urged Suhakam to prioritise the problem of deaths in police custody.

“The collaboration between police and other agencies is part of the force’s efforts to eliminate custodial deaths,” Federal police secretary DCP Datuk Noorsiah Mohd Saaduddin said, in a statement.

“At the same time, it shows our openness and transparency in managing individuals who are in our custody,” she added.

Custodial deaths are investigated by the Crime and Death in Custody Investigation Unit, under the Integrity and Standards Compliance Department. Police also provided the racial composition of the detainees who died:

  • Malay (male): 14
  • Chinese (male): 1
  • Indian (male): 1
  • Myanmar (male): 2
  • Indonesian (male): 1

“From the 19 cases investigated, one case has seen four suspects charged in court, while one case has been referred to the coroner. The remaining 17 cases are still being investigated,” the statement added.

The subject of custodial deaths has been a talking point among many quarters in recent times.

In February, Malaysia Bar president A.G. Kalidas issued a statement, saying that the Malaysian Bar was “deeply dismayed by the unabated spate of deaths in custody in recent months.”

Rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia, in April, voiced concern after learning of the government’s data on custodial deaths.

A criminologist has also called for the setting up of an independent panel comprising experts and professionals to look into custodial deaths in Malaysia.