Despite the denial by the Immigration Department, Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) wants the government to commission a thorough and independent investigation into alleged torture and detainee abuse which purportedly led to deaths at the Juru immigration detention centre.
"Although the director-general, Mustafar Ali, has denied allegations of abuse and promised that a detailed statement will be issued, an independent task force needs to be set up to investigate this issue.
"An independent investigation is very crucial to get the actual details," MTUC secretary-general N Gopal Kishnam said in a statement.
He said that a tranparent investigation would lend more credence to any findings as opposed to an internal probe that some might question, especially when it involved foreign nationals.
"Transparent investigation is important because it involves foreigners and we do not want any party to take the opportunity to tarnish the country's name," said Gopal.
He also wants the government to be transparent on the investigation and "the outcome of independent investigation must be made public" as opposed to being kept in some administrative drawer or perhaps classified as secret.
He also urged the authorities to spare no one from prosecution if offences have been committed.
"If the investigation shows that there are elements of criminal negligence, the respective individuals or parties involved should be brought to justice," Gopal said.
Allegations of torture and deaths in Malaysian immigration custody made headlines yesterday after a Cambodian daily published an article detailing the ordeals of two freed Cambodian nationals who supposedly witnessed such incidents in the Juru immigration detention centre.
The article sparked fresh concerns over Malaysia's already widely criticised and overcrowded immigration detention facilities and has led to calls for an urgent probe into the matter.
Mustafar, however, denied the allegations, saying that an internal probe would be conducted to get to the bottom of the story.