Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy has refused to accept the authorities' explanations on the injuries sustained by inmate Chandran Muniandy.
"I am not disputing the statements and I have nothing against the police but I would rather wait for the thorough investigation to be completed.
"Without a proper investigation, I am not prepared to accept any statements regarding Chandran, either from the police or prison authorities," the Prai assemblyman told Malaysiakini.
This is in reference to Chandran, who is currently being warded at the Seberang Jaya Hospital with head injuries and several of his toe nails missing.
The 42-year-old odd-job worker's family has said that he had been healthy when sent to jail late last month and questioned what had landed him in hospital.
Earlier today, south Seberang Prai police chief Supt Shafee Abdul Samad was quoted saying that Chandran had fallen in the toilet, injuring his head.
Shafee had also said that Chandran's toenails were removed in the prison clinic due to a skin disease and that the inmate was a psychiatric patient.
Penang prisons director SAC Kamarudzaman Mamat was also quoted echoing Shafee's remark, saying that Chandran was placed in solitary confinement at prison due to his mental instability.
Was there a doctor to certify prisoner as mad?
"Psychiatric patient? His family was not informed about this, and I too am not aware of it until now; was there a doctor to certify him as such?" Ramasamy asked.
"You cannot go around creating a story that the prisoner is mad," Ramasamy said.
Ramasamy noted that too many cases of abuse behind bars have occured, with the latest being the custodial death of detainee S Balamurugan at the North Klang district police headquarters on Feb 8.
This is why he has urged for an independent body like Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) to probe the matter.
He also said it was time for the government to form the much-awaited Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
"You can't exactly say that the police and prison are independent, as the incident happened in the premises.
"Let's not pour cold water on the case yet; we will also get our lawyers to look into the matter.
"A life can be lost. Is this the caring society that the government was shouting about?" Ramasamy asked.
Ramasamy expressed hope that there will be no cover up in the case by both the police and prison authorities.
Ramasamy said he will wait for the EAIC report as its chairman Yaakob Sam has promised to investigate the allegations thoroughly.
Penang police chief Commissioner Chuah Ghee Lye has also promised to do the same, Ramasamy noted.- Mkini