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Custodial deaths: No cover-ups, Home Ministry promises

KUALA LUMPUR: The Home Ministry will not protect or cover up for any police officer found guilty of injuring or killing detainees in custody.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said every report on a death in custody will be thoroughly investigated, with a public prosecutor to be assigned to bring the matter to court.

In a written reply in Parliament on Monday, he added his ministry would not intervene in the case of S. Balamurugan, 44, who died in the North Klang police lock-up on Feb 7 after allegedly being abused.

He said the ministry would not intervene as it did not want to disrupt ongoing investigations by the police and the Integrity Commission for Enforcement Agencies in determining the cause of death.

“We also do not plan to form a special committee to investigate the case.

“The action on the guilty party will be decided after investigations are completed by the authorities involved,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was responding to questions from Klang MP Charles Santiago, who had asked whether the ministry would form a special commission to investigate deaths in custody.

To another question from Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto, Dr Ahmad Zahid said there were 1,654 cases of deaths in custody since 2010.

“From that number 1,037 were Malays, 222 Chinese and 182 Indians.

“They died while receiving treatment from the hospital for illnesses like HIV, cancer and tuberculosis and such,” he said.

Kasthuri had asked on the number of deaths in custody since the year 2000

In 2017 alone, there have already been three deaths in custody.-thestar

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