Dhamendran - the mother of all custodial deaths?

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The latest breath-arresting reported death of late N Dhamendran while in the custody of the law keepers sends shocking shivers down the spine of all concerned and caring Malaysians.


In any developed and democratic nation state, by now the citizenry and non-governmental organisations would have marshalled a protest march till justice is done and the heads resigned.

In all likelihood, citizens of the world who converge on the Net would be asking the same question: What on earth are the people of Malaysia going to do about these ghastly beatings that led suspects to death within the police barracks?

The pathologist should be praised for the courage and professional commitment in disclosing the true report that establishes the cause of death on a father and husband of a fellow Malaysian.

I wonder, too, what would be the consequences that the doctor will face subsequently. Would a transfer be chasing hot on his heels, or perhaps some form of cold storage of future prospects? Only time will tell.

Lest we forget, the nation was - and still is - gripped by the gruesome and world-record murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu. No answers are forthcoming, despite the passage of years that seem reluctant to put to eternal rest the slain and blown fragile, lone female from a distant and foreign country.

There were other deaths as well - Teoh Beng Hock, A Kugan and another. Several more died under highly suspicious circumstances. Already within a space of eleven days in a row, we have been seeing death reports of three citizens who had been in the custody of the police. However, the allegations and evidences still cannot establish speedy justice beyond speculation till this date.

And now we have N Dhamendran, a case that can easily be classified as the mother of all custodial deaths, considering the over fifty blows to his handcuffed body as well as his stapled ears.

'An infinity to solve yet another death'

In all likelihood, the forces that be will reprimand all Malaysians not to politicise the episode. Already the head of the pack has boldly thundered that we must not “demoralise” the 'men in blue' being implicated in yet another custodial death. Another has even warned citizens “not to speculate” on the matter.

Speculate or not, we can safely conclude - given the precedent Altantuya case - that it may perhaps take infinity to solve yet another spate of taking away the life of a fellow Malaysian.

While those who were established by the Palace of Justice to have committed murders are still waiting alive - albeit on death row - here we have citizens who have yet to be judged and charged beyond all reasonable doubt, already dead.

It matters least to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, even if all these deaths under custody demoralise the people. It matters least certainly to newly-minted Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. It is also a low priority case for the inspector-general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar who is certainly busy chasing after opposition politicians for, supposedly, the security of the nation.

Meanwhile, the citizens only have the Net space to share their woes and shower their concerns over the bereaved families. Therefore, one cannot blame citizens for also asking: Are we going the way of some rogue regimes in certain parts of the world?


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