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Kidnapping Case ................. "One minute, Saraswathy Govindasamy was chatting outside her front door with her eight-month pregnant niece and neighbor, Selvamalar Nadarajah. The next, her niece and four others had been shot dead by a police SWAT team." Policing the Police TIME ASIA: APRIL 16, 2001, VOL.157 NO.15

Settlement
On 19th. October 01 KL High Court recorded a consent order in which the government agreed to pay RM400,000 to settle the negligence suit brought by the two sisters against the government, former Inspector-General of Police Rahim Noor, former
Selangor police chief Kamaruddin Hamzah and former Selangor CID chief Senior Asst Comm (II) Johar Che Din.

 

 

 

Six Man Fatal shooting . 13 October 1998
Shot Dead:

Ramachandran Sitaraman, 37

Subramaniam. Kannapareddy, 38

Ravi Suppayah, 33

Ganesan Sinasamy, 30

Rajendran Subramaniam, 37

Why: Suspicion of arms smuggling

Where: Kota Baru - Pengkalan Kubor Road, Kelantan.

Coroner's Verdict: "Police have acted in a reasonable manner and in self-defence." - Majistrate Ahmad Bazli Bahruddin.. High Court Verdict: Justice Suriyadi reverses coroners verdict, " I was quite stunned by the magistrate's decision as it bordered on the preparation of the defence of police zealousness".Also ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict anyone for the deaths as well as determine if the police personnel involved in the shootout had committed outright criminality.
Settled out of court: On 11th. August 2004, the case was settled with a payment for an undisclosed sum without an admission of liability.
Over the past 10 years, a total of 655 people were killed as a result of being shot by the police. Of the total, 355 were locals. - - May 1999, then deputy Home Affairs minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir
Dead in police custody
On June 21, S Tharma Rajen, 20, a waiter from Kuala Lumpur, died at the Putrajaya hospital after he was sent there from the lockup. The official cause of death was pneumonia and a second postmortem stated that he had died from tuberculosis.
Tharma Rajen was arrested in early April under Ops Copperhead - a police sweep on Indian gangsters - was transferred from three other lockups before he ended up at the Putrajaya lockup under the Emergency Ordinance.
M Ragubathy, died at the Putrajaya hospital on July 28 after spending more than a week at the lockup. He was later confirmed to have died of congestive heart failure.
Security guard G Veerasamy died on Nov 28, 2003. Family members allege that Veerasamy was beaten to death while in police custody after his arrest by several policemen in Pandan Indah on Nov 24.
 

Policing the Police

Malaysia's controversial cops face criticism and potential censure for repeated brutalities
BY SIMON ELEGANT Kuala Lumpur

It was chilling testimony. One minute, Saraswathy Govindasamy was chatting outside her front door with her eight-month pregnant niece and neighbor, Selvamalar Nadarajah. The next, her niece and four others had been shot dead by a police SWAT team.

"I rushed out when I heard the gunshots," Saraswathy, a 44-year-old housewife told a Kuala Lumpur court in early March. She claims she tried to alert police that a pregnant woman was inside the house they had surrounded. "Do you want to die? Go back inside," a policeman shouted, according to Saraswathy. "About two hours later a police truck arrived. They brought out five bodies from the house and into the waiting truck." One of the bodies was Selvamalar's.

The dead woman's two children, Alameloo Mangai, 11, and her sister Keerthana, 8, are suing the government and police for their mother's death. Police officers responsible for the Oct. 2, 1998, raid, which was part of an investigation into the kidnapping of a prominent politician's son, have told the court they had reason to believe the boy was in the house and acted in self-defense after shots were fired from inside. During the earlier inquiry into the deaths, police claimed they had found two guns in the house.

The graphic testimony given so far in the ongoing trial-including detailed forensic descriptions of how Selvamalar was shot in the head and the condition of her unborn child-comes at an unwelcome time for Malaysia's troubled police force. The case revives longstanding complaints by human rights advocates that the nation's law enforcement officers are trigger happy, practicing what human rights group Hakam and others describe as an "unofficial shoot-to-kill policy." (Malaysia's inspector general of police wasn't available to be interviewed for this story.)

The country's fledgling Human Rights Commission has just concluded a public inquiry into allegations of police misconduct last November at an anti-government demonstration. During the inquiry, commissioners heard lengthy reports of misconduct-unprovoked violence, unnecessarily long detention of arrested protestors and deliberate humiliation of prisoners. One woman gave evidence that she was forced to strip naked and subjected to a body cavity search.

The commission is also considering launching an inquiry into allegations that police failed to intervene in recent ethnic clashes between Malay and Indian squatters that left six dead and 48 severely wounded. Human Rights Commissioner Anuar Zainal Abidin is studying a 108-page report submitted by an ad hoc group-the Police Watch and Human Rights Committee-that lodges a formal complaint against high-ranking officers alleging no protection was given to ethnic Indians during the riots.

The "general public perception of the police has been very severely dented," says Sulaiman Abdullah, a prominent lawyer. The current controversies are particularly troubling for many Malaysians, Sulaiman adds, in the wake of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's imprisonment and conviction on charges of corruption and sodomy. After Anwar was severely beaten on the night of his arrest in September 1998, an internal police inquiry failed to identify the culprit. It took a Royal Commission of Inquiry to determine that then-police chief Rahim Noor had administered the beating. (In a subsequent trial, Rahim was found guilty of the charge and he is appealing a two-month prison sentence.) Anwar argued that his convictions were the result of a conspiracy orchestrated by the police at the behest of senior government figures.

The string of controversies are bound to "affect the perception of the people about the police force," says Saravanan Murugan, a Senator in Malaysia's appointed upper house and a senior member of the Malaysian Indian Congress, the Indian component of the country's ruling coalition. "The people have a right to be concerned."

The government has staunchly defended police conduct, although Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi-who is also Home Minister and responsible for supervising the force-has acknowledged that the police have a p.r. problem. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has gone on the offensive. In parliament last week, he warned that his government was willing to break with "so-called international norms" to preserve peace.

The Human Rights Commission is due to present its official report for 2000 to parliament by the end of April. Its recommendations-and the government's response-are a litmus test for human rights in Malaysia, activists say. Anuar is cautious when addressing the charge by opposition politicians that police are often a willing tool to further the government's political ends. "I don't know about that. We'll tackle the simpler issues first," he says. "When we have found out where we can act, then we'll tackle the more difficult ones." Even for someone claiming to be "very optimistic" about the role the commission can play in
ensuring police accountability, that could be a lot more than just difficult.

With reporting by Mageswary Ramakrishnan/Kuala Lumpur

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Former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim beaten in detention by the top police man of the country.
pic: malaysiakini.com
Anwar spent 6 years in jail
Rahim, the then inspector general of police (IGP) had pleaded guilty to assaulting Anwar and was jailed two months and fined RM2,000.

Kluang incident

Mental patient Thevarajah Suppiah was shot by the police while running away from them after releasing his 10-year-old hostage of four hours. Police could have captured Thevarajah as he was only armed with a pen knife, or could have just shot him in his leg to capture him alive and bring him before the court.


Memorandum prepared by the Police Watch and Human Rights Committee of Parti Reformasi Insan Malaysia (Prim)............... An average of 1.3 persons was shot dead by the police every week,

"The police took the law into their own hands ... they are paid by taxpayers' money and are properly trained to protect citizens, not to kill them," ........Rajah.


" the perception that Indians are marginalised and ignored by the mainstream development was false.
"I think it is a wrong perception. Since independence the government has contributed a lot for the well-being of Indians. We have never neglected the Indians," -
Deputy Information Minister Khalid Yunus

"Indian concerns are real. A lot of people do not realise their (Indians') problems because they do not mix with them.
"The government is obliged to pay attention to the Malays. They always get priority. The Chinese help themselves. In the case of Indians, they are lost," -Khoo Kay Kim, professor at University Malaya

"Ethnic Indians should resort to self-help rather than seek assistance from the government. There is no point saying the government should do this and that,"
- Ramon Navaratnam, corporate advisor to construction giant SungaiWay Group and Malaysian Human Rights Commissioner .

 

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