MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Saturday, January 29, 2011

No respect for judges or police

On 20 January 2009, 22 year-old Kugan Ananthan died a horrible, lonely death. His body bore the marks of several wounds from severe beatings and an autopsy showed that he had been starved during his incarceration. The people who allegedly caused his death were the policemen of the Taipan police station in USJ-Subang Jaya.

Kugan’s death was mired in controversy right from the beginning. He was detained for questioning about a car theft syndicate. Five days later the police say he keeled over after a drink of water.

The police chief Khalid Abu Bakar promised a thorough investigation and no cover-up. He said that an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be water in the lungs and classified it as ‘sudden death’.

Meanwhile, Kugan’s relatives and two deputy ministers had managed to take photographs of Kugan’s body in the morgue. They demanded that a second autopsy be carried out. The police’s reluctance only intensified suspicion that Kugan had been tortured prior to his death.

After a public outcry, Kugan’s death was reclassified as murder.

Despite allegations that more than one policeman was involved in the Kugan beating, only one policemen was charged with his death. Apparently 11 rank and file policemen were transferred to desk duty at the Selangor police headquarters.

The 25-day trial, which started on 18 February 2010, saw 24 witnesses take the stand.

On 28 January 2011, 30 year-old police constable Navindran Vivekanandan was acquitted by the Petaling Jaya Session Court. Judge Aslam Zainuddin ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused and did not call for Navindran's defence.

The result is as shocking as it is depressing. It is a spectacular failure of the police and judiciary to inspire confidence in the Malaysian people.

There is already a common perception that members of the Indian community suffer the most deaths in custody. Why were the police reluctant for the second autopsy to be performed? Why did they only charge one man when others were allegedly involved? Why did the first autopsy fail to mention the other wounds?

Kugan’s is not the first, nor the last to test our patience with the government’s handling of these cases. The recent verdicts of other cases have eroded our belief in the forces of law and order.

We are told that Teoh Beng Hock did not commit suicide but neither was his death a homicide.

We are told that the police are allowed to shoot as in the case of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the 15 year-old who died in a hail of police bullets. Like Kugan, only one policeman was implicated.

Then there was businessman Chia Buang Hing, 34 who was beaten up when he was stopped at a police road-block.

If the police are supposed to preserve the peace then why are they the ones who cause us most harm? The police are acting as if they are a law unto themselves.

If the judiciary is supposed to ensure we get justice, then why do many people feel that they should be taking the law into their own hands?

If an independent judiciary is an important component of a functioning democracy, then it appears that ours has broken down.

A few weeks ago, the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) CEO Senator Idris Jala said, “The numbers we have from January to November show that crime has dropped.”

He explained that the Government had worked hard to reduce crime in the last 11 months, and had mobilised 14,222 police officers to 50 hotspots, mainly in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor. This included the installation of 496 CCTVs and the ranking of 753 police stations for their achievements.

Idris pointed out that these measures were successful as crime incidents in those hotspots decreased, with the overall crime index and street crime down by 16% and 38% between January and November 2010, as compared with the corresponding period last year.

Idris failed to inform us that the biggest threat might also be from the policemen.

So, in Malaysia, who really is sovereign? Is it the police, the judges or the people? - Malaysia Chronicle

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