Malyasian cabinet to discuss custody deaths issue

Singapore, June 4 (IANS) The issue of deaths involving India-origin people in police custody in Malaysia is likely to be raised in that country’s cabinet meeting, a media report said. The issue has drawn the ire of the Malaysian Indian community.

Paul Low Seng Kuan, minister in the prime minister’s department, while meeting representatives of the Malaysian Indian non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has assured them that the issue will be taken up in a cabinet meet June 5, the Malaysian Star reported Tuesday, citing Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) strategic director S. Vell Paari.

There have been eight cases of custodial deaths this year, the latest being f 42-year-old Malaysian Indian P. Karuna Nithi June 1 in a police station in Negeri Sembilan state.

There were two other recent cases of N. Dhamendran, 32, who died in the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur May 21, and of R. James Ramesh, 40, who died in police custody in Penang state May 26.

According to Vell Paari, the meeting with Kuan was held in the minister’s office and initiated by D. Ravindran, a director in the performance management and delivery unit (Pemandu) under the prime minister’s department.

It was attended by representatives of NGOs Malaysian Indian Progressive Association, Warga AMAN, Respect All Religions and Race, Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisations, People’s Welfare and Rights Association among others.

“The people are unhappy and angry over this issue and want to see action taken,” Vell Paari was quoted as saying.

“They want a firm action taken by charging the policemen involved to show the seriousness of the government.”

According to Federation of Malaysian Indian NGOs president A. Rajaretinam, the NGOs want to help the government in resolving the issue.

A total of 64 Malays, 30 Chinese and 28 Indians have died in police custody between 2000-2010, said S. Gobi Krishnan, the president of People’s Welfare and Rights Association, citing police statistics.

“There seems to be more cases involving Indians for the past two years,” he said.

Ethnic Indians comprise a little over seven percent of Malaysia’s total population of nearly 30 million.

–Indo-Asian news Service

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