Establishment of IPCMC is Crucial in Halting Deaths in Police Custody — Malaysian Bar

In response to growing numbers of custodial death cases, most recently 44-year-old S Balamurugan s/o M Suppiah, the Malaysian Bar has requested establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (“IPCMC”) to independently investigate complaints miscoduct and abuse of power. The following statement was releasead by the Malaysia Bar on 22 February 2017.

PRESS RELEASE
Source: The Malaysian Bar

The Malaysian Bar is aghast that the results of the second post-mortem conducted by Hospital Kuala Lumpur on 44-year-old S Balamurugan s/o M Suppiah (“Balamurugan”) released on 18 February 2017 confirms that the cause of death while he was in police custody was “coronary artery disease with multiple blunt force injuries”.  The first autopsy carried out at the Klang Hospital had reportedly indicated that he had died of “heart problems”.

Balamurugan was arrested by the police on 6 February 2017, and was found dead at the North Klang district police headquarters on 8 February 2017.  According to the police report lodged by his lawyer, at his remand hearing on 7 February 2017 Balamurugan was weak and unable to walk, had bruises on his face, was bleeding from his nose and mouth, and vomited blood.  His lawyer also stated that he had been informed that Balamurugan had been assaulted by the police. Read more

Set up IPCMC, implement EAIC recommendations – Ambiga

Source: Astro Awani

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Bar Council president Datuk S. Ambiga said the recommendations of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) in 2016 should also be implemented immediately.

Ambiga, who joined calls for IPCMC to be set up, also urged for closed-circuit television camera (CCTVs) to be installed in all police lock-ups with immediate effect.

The formation of the IPCMC was proposed by a royal commission proposed in 2005, but it has yet to be formed.

The National Human Rights Society (HAKAM) president said the 2015 Suaram Human Rights report shows that there have been 250 deaths in police custody in the last decade.

“If the authorities concerned are not yet convinced of the dire need for the IPCMC, then what will it take? A few policemen, who break the law must not be allowed to tarnish the name of all the other professional policemen who work hard to keep us safe. Read more

Malaysian Bar renews call for IPCMC after Balamurugan’s custodial death

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Counsel N. Surendran speaks to the family of S. Balamurugan at the High Court in Shah Alam February 15, 2017. — Bernama pic

Counsel N. Surendran speaks to the family of S. Balamurugan at the High Court in Shah Alam February 15, 2017. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The Malaysian Bar demanded today for the establishment of the long-proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) after the latest death in custody case.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru expressed outrage that none of the police officers at the North Klang district police headquarters, who are under investigation over S. Balamurugan’s death, have been suspended or arrested after a second autopsy purportedly confirmed that the 44-year-old had suffered multiple beatings in police custody.

“The IPCMC is a crucial first step, and the only way in which the rogue elements in the police force can be identified, isolated and held accountable for their misconduct and criminal acts,” Steven said in a statement. Read more

Murder in Custody? — Ambiga Sreenevasan

BY AMBIGA SREENEVASAN
(President of HAKAM)

Pic by Harith Najmuddin for Malaysiakini.

Pic by Harith Najmuddin for Malaysiakini.

Balamurugan, aged 44, from Kapar, died in police custody at the North Klang police headquarters.  He was arrested on the 6th of February and brought before a Magistrate for his remand hearing on the 7th. It was reported that his mouth was bleeding and he vomited blood in court. The Magistrate quite correctly rejected the remand and ordered that he be released immediately and taken to the hospital. Both Balamurugan’s family and his lawyer Gerard Lazarus filed police reports after seeing bruises on his body.

In apparent defiance of the court order, the police took him back to the police station. Reports state that at about 11.30pm on the 7th, police noticed that he was unconscious while in a room and called for an ambulance. Paramedics pronounced him dead when they arrived. Police then classified the case as sudden death. In his affidavit, the brother of the deceased stated that the family received a phone call only at 6 am the next day from the police, asking them to go to the Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah where they were informed that Balamurugan had died. Read more

IDEAS: Whistleblowers Protection Act too weak to protect public

Source: FMT News

IDEAS CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan - Pic from FMT News

IDEAS CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan – Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The extremely low number of whistleblowers coming forward to report on any wrongdoings in this country is due to weaknesses in the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, says IDEAS chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

Referring to a new policy paper titled “A critical look into the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010” presented by IDEAS board member and past president of the Malaysian Bar Christopher Leong, the think tank chief said there are severe gaps in what should be reported and what is currently being reported in the country.

“Many experts can agree that whistleblowing is one of the best ways to discover corruption. In countries like the US, as much as 46% of fraud cases were discovered due to whistleblowers.

“However, in Malaysia, the numbers are extremely low. Only 28 out of 8,953 complaints made to the MACC in 2012 were by whistleblowers. This is approximately 0.3% of cases,” Wan Saiful said in a statement. Read more

Amnesty: Malaysia still lagging on rights issues

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Protesters sit on the road at Jalan Ampang during the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur November 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

Protesters sit on the road at Jalan Ampang during the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur November 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 ― Malaysia has not made progress on various human rights areas, Amnesty International (AI) said in its annual report on the country released today.

The group highlighted six problem areas for the country: freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, arbitrary arrests and detentions, police and security forces, refugees and asylum seekers and death penalty.

“The persistent crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression and the lack of police accountability in Malaysia are among the major concerns raised in the Amnesty International Report 2016/2017 released today. Read more

Rights groups rail against activist’s conviction for screening film

Source: FMT News

Suaram condemns attempt to punish Lena Hendry for simply screening a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war while Human Rights Watch alleges political motivation. Pic from FMT News.

Suaram condemns attempt to punish Lena Hendry for simply screening a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war while Human Rights Watch alleges political motivation. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Human rights groups are crying foul over the conviction of activist Lena Hendry for her role in showing a documentary film on war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war.

The programme coordinator at rights group Pusat Komas was found guilty by the Magistrates’ Court yesterday of screening an uncensored documentary, “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”, on July 3, 2013.

“No Fire Zone” tells the story of war crimes committed in the last months of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called the conviction a violation of Lena’s freedom of expression, adding that it was not in line with international rights standards.

In a statement today, HRW said the move appeared to be motivated by Putrajaya’s desire to appease the Sri Lankan embassy officials whom the NGO said had publicly demanded that the film not be shown. They had also visited the venue on the day of the film’s screening to urge venue managers to cancel the event, HRW said. Read more

RUU355 not hudud, but is it OK? – Azmi Sharom

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY: AZMI SHAROM

FEBRUARY 22 — The proposed amendments to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 are very clever. When Hadi first proposed it, the original draft was arguably against the Constitution. But now they have changed it and the constitutional argument becomes harder to use.

Let me explain why. In the original draft there was a possibility that some of the additions to the law would mean there is an overlap with ordinary criminal law. This could mean that there was a question of two criminal systems in one country, and that is against the Article 8 of the Constitution which states that everyone must be equal before the law.

The current amendments merely increase the punishments for existing offences. So, nothing new is added, it is just that the penalties are harsher.

Does this make it all OK? Read more

Recognise stalking as domestic violence – Yu Ren Chung

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

BY: YU REN CHUNG

FEBRUARY 22 — After years of abuse, Nina left her husband. Yet she was not safe.

Wherever she moved, her husband would look her. One time, Nina noticed men taking pictures of her children at her house.

She was being stalked.

Worried, she lodged a police report, but she was not given protection. Soon after, while leaving work, Nina was attacked by two men — acquaintances of her ex-husband. They slashed her with a machete, scarring her cheek and cutting-off her thumb.

If Nina received protection after she had been stalked, her gruesome attack may have been prevented.

Unfortunately for Nina, and thousands of Malaysians like her, stalking is not a crime in Malaysia. Read more