KUALA LUMPUR: Padang Serai MP N. Surendran has urged Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to provide better and further particulars on a statement he made in Parliament on Thursday on prison deaths. “He should urgently explain to the people the reasons for the high number of prison deaths.”
Further, added the MP in a statement, Zahid should state what immediate steps he proposes to take to address this matter. “He must treat this as a matter of grave importance as it involves the sanctity of human life.”
An average 18 prisoners, according to Zahid, die each month in prison, noted Surendran.
The MP was following up on Zahid revealing that between 2013 and 30 April 2016, 721 prisoners died in Malaysian prisons. “This information was given in answer to a parliamentary question I had submitted to the Home Minister,” disclosed Surendran.
Of this figure, 427 were Malays, 104 Chinese, 91 Indians, 10 others and 89 foreign citizens, according to Zahid, pointed Surendran.
These statistics are shocking and completely unacceptable, he continued. “The prisoners are entitled to the same standard and quality of medical care as the general population.”
The duty upon the prison authorities and government was all the more heavier as prisoners are entirely dependent upon them for medical care, he stressed.
Surendran was referring to Zahid revealing in his answer that the prisoners died mainly from diseases such as HIV, cancer, cardiac arrest, blood problems, tuberculosis, and asthma. “Most these diseases are treatable. They should not have resulted in death if properly managed.”
“There’s no need for so many prisoners to be dying from clearly treatable conditions.”
The treatment of prisoners and the state of the prisons reflects our values as a nation, argued Surendran. “Every human life, whether a prisoner or a person of high rank in society, was equally important and of equal value.”