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Thursday, February 28, 2013

‘No political gain from Sugumar’s death’


PKR vice-president N.Surendran denies using security guard C Sugumar's death as political mileage and maintains that PKR is just fighting for justice.
PETALING JAYA: PKR vice-president N Surendran has denied that he is using security guard C Sugumar’s death to his political advantage.
When asked to comment whether PKR is politicising the death of Sugumar, he denied that neither he nor the party are making political mileage out of this case.
“It is an absolutely baseless answer given by those very people who should have taken action on Sugumar’s death, which is the government,” said Surendran.
On Feb 15, MIC Youth secretary C Sivaraajh urged Surendran to stop using Sugumar’s death as a tool to gain political mileage.
“Sugumar’s family is already devastated by his death and is enduring a lot of hardship,” said Sivaraajh.
Sugumar, a 40-year-old security guard died on Jan 23 after allegedly being beaten by the police after they handcuffed him.
Surendran however denied that PKR is politicising this case and claimed that they are just fighting for justice on behalf of Sugumar’s family.
“We are saying, arrest and charge all those who were involved in Sugumar’s death. And right now it is not just about Sugumar and his family, it’s about setting an example, a deterrent to prevent further deaths from occurring.
“So it’s definitely not a question of politics at all; it’s a question of fighting for justice,” he said.
Surendran added that if the authorities had acted properly, by calling for an independent investigation, there would not be a need for demonstrations to be conducted.
“Why are we forced to do demonstrations to get justice for Sugumar, the authorities should have given justice.
“We are forced to marshal public opinion in order to pressure the authorities to take action. That’s why we are doing demonstrations, because otherwise the government would not take action,” he said.
He added that the argument of him using this issue as political mileage is null because as a human rights advocate, he has been taking up death in custody cases for the past 15 years.
“Before I became PKR vice president, I was fighting publicly for death in custody cases, so where is the argument that I’m doing this for political mileage?” he queried.
Second post-mortem
With regard to the second post-mortem to be conducted on Sugumar, he clarified that there is no such thing as a private post-mortem here in Malaysia.
“Private hospitals do not do post-mortems, so we are thrown back on all the government hospitals.
“But how can we expect government pathologists to act independently when they have got extreme pressure coming right down from the Prime Minister himself in Sugumar’s case?” he said.
He said that although the prime minister denied intervening to prevent Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand from conducting the second post-mortem, “it is clear to everyone that there is massive government pressure on the government pathologists.”
“We need a private pathologist, and since there are no private pathologists in Malaysia, that is why we went to Thailand and got Dr Pornthip but unfortunately the government blocked it.
“Now if we were to go to Indonesia or Australia, what is the guarantee that the prime minister or authorities would not block that also? The government must do the right thing and lift the block on Dr Pornthip,” he said.
On Feb 15, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak refuted an allegation that he had prevented Dr Pornthip from conducting a second post-mortem on Sugumar.
It is not true… these are all fairy tales. Don’t listen to them. Not at all,” said the prime minister.
He said this in response to news portal reports which quoted Surendran as saying that Najib had communicated with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to stop Pornthip from conducting the post-mortem on Sugumar.
Surendran claimed that as a result of that, the Thai government decided that Pornthip should not conduct the post-mortem so as not to undermine relations between the two countries.

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