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Thursday, January 31, 2013

'Liar Liow' to advise on Sugumar's post-mortem? Come on, get real Najib!

'Liar Liow' to advise on Sugumar's post-mortem? Come on, get real Najib!
The Prime Minister has asked the Health Ministry to send the forensic report on the the death of C Sugumaran to the cabinet.
This is clearly a political stunt aimed towards defusing tensions which have arisen amongst the public over the manner in which the police and government hospitals conduct themselves in such cases.
It is obvious the PM is ill advised. Why does the cabinet need to look at the forensic report? Who is to brief the PM and about what? Doesn't the PM want to know what witnesses have said? What about an explanation from the police? And why is it all one sided? Will the family of the deceased also be allowed to brief the PM to put forward their version of events? And really, what is the role of the PM in all of this?
Deal with the real problems
The PM should deal with the actual problem at hand, which is the fact that in cases where there is death caused by the police, the victims' families are given the runaround by the police and hospitals if they demand for answers and independent verification of the cause of death.
The police in another case last week said, there is no need to get permission from them for a 2nd post mortem. They said it was entirely up to the family if they wanted a 2nd post mortem and that they were free to do so provided they found a pathologist and were prepared to pay for it.
But the reality is that government hospitals will not agree to 2nd post mortems unless they are directed by the police.
But where else do you find pathologists? In Teoh Beng Hocks case, we had to seek the help of Dr Pornthip, from Thailand. That also met with administrative problems and she was not allowed to conduct the 2nd post mortem. She was only allowed to observe it.
Don't always seek to benefit yourself with the publicity
The PM should move to stop this. He should recognize the injustice of having to put the families of such victims through the added pain and suffering of being bullied by the system. That's the point being made in all of this.
He should put his foot down and direct the police to officially consent to requests for 2nd post mortems where persons die in police custody or following allegations of police brutality. He should also direct government hospitals to carry out 2nd post mortems when requested in cases like these and not put the families through the strain of having to look for "their own pathologist". I would have thought that government hospitals had a duty to the public to do so in the first place.
Finally, the PM should direct the Attorney General to brief him about the findings of investigations in cases like these. It is the AG who is duty bound to advise the PM and his cabinet, not the health minister with a forensic report. That, with respect, is nonsensical.
Insincerity again
It is obvious that the PM is ill advised. He has asked for a forensic report in this case. Why is he not concerned about all the other cases in which the victims died at the hands of the police? He misses the point.
What we need is a permanent solution to a very old problem, which is dealing with the brute force of the system and how it is severely prejudiced against victims in cases like these.
If the PM is sincere, he must direct changes to the manner in which the police and government hospitals deal with cases like these.
The PM can rest assured that if Pakatan Rakyat comes into power, this is one of the first few things which will be dealt with immediately and changed at the very outset of our governance.
GOBIND SINGH DEO is the DAP MP for Puchong

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