MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Thursday, May 30, 2013

'We never offered redress or to meet family in secret'

Officers working under Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low had never offered to meet the family of custodial death victim N Dharmendran in secret or to give compensation for his death, said Low’s officer, D Ravindran.

At a press conference today, Ravindran said that all he did was tell the deceased’s father that the minister wanted to meet to offer condolences and to help.

Instead, he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that it was an unknown individual claiming to be a friend of the family who called him to set up a clandestine meeting to “settle” the matter.

“When I received the call from (this person) asking me to come to a hotel to ‘settle’, I called Datuk Paul to say something was wrong,” he said of the Tuesday incident.

Ravindran, who accompanied Low  to the press conference, said he had initially called Dharmendran’s father upon instructions and said Low wanted to come to the family’s home to pay his respects but was advised against it.

“He said don’t come to the house as people may abuse us, so I asked  to suggest wher, and he said they were being called to Bukit Aman.

“I said fine, we can meet at Bukit Aman, but then he said his lawyers had advised him not to speak to anyone,” he said.
Ravindran, who is attached to the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), said that after that, he had called PKR’s Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah.

“We could not reach (family lawyer and PKR’s Padang Serai MP N) Surendran so I contacted Sivarasa with the help of (Bersih chairperson) Ambiga (Sreenevasan).

“I told him we wanted to help and were willing to go through him if need be. We also contacted him to invite him to this press conference but we didn’t hear back,” he said.

He also said that he only contacted the deceased’s father and not his wife, as reported in the media.

Low said at no point did he or his officers offer the family new lawyers.

“It is their right to appoint any lawyer... We are willing to work with anyone, across the political divide,” he said.
Low said that he had hoped to have the PKR lawyers at today's  press conference, so as to clear the air and to answer any disputes they may have.

"I am willing to have another press conference with them if they agree," he said, stressing that he is interested in getting the family a fair trial and justice. 

‘Dharmendran’s case a priority’

He also regretted that his “enthusiasm” to reach out to the family had been misconstrued and the episode has served as a “lesson” for him on how to engage the public.

“When I learnt of this case I thought that as a father I would also be angry and aggrieved that my son went into custody and was no longer alive.

“It is just not satisfactory that people under custody have no safeguards for their lives,” he said, explaining why he reached out.

He said that despite the reception received, he will continue to raise the matter in the cabinet and to keepabreast of the issue through Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the cabinet gave an encouraging response when he raised it last week and had agreed that custodial deaths statistic is “alarming”.

“I already suggested (a review of procedures) and the police are initiating it, while the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission will do a separate evaluation.

“This case is a priority,” he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.