MP SPEAKS | Putrajaya should be more resolute and determined in ensuring that all police and immigration lock-ups and interrogation rooms are fitted with working CCTVs. This is to prevent rouge police officers from taking the law into their own hands and to protect honest, dedicated and accountable officers in carrying out their duties.
In 2013, a pledge was made by the former Bukit Aman management director Mortadza Nazarene that a committee would be set up to ensure the safety of all lock-up inmates in lieu of abuses and deaths in custody.
Also, five lock-ups in the police stations in Jinjang, Shah Alam, Indera Mahkota Kuantan, Bayan Baru and also Kota Kinabalu, would be equipped with CCTV cameras, intercom systems, 'black marias', lawyers' room, a court room, a control room, an identification parade room, a transit room and a room for meals.
Mortadza also said that the police will cooperate with the Health Ministry to conduct medical checks of detainees before being sent to the lock-up and a commitment that a medical doctor be brought in to inspect the detainees at least once a week.
Have all these pledges, made in 2013, been fulfilled and adhered to? Are doctors ferried in into lock-ups, even in rural areas and interior areas like Sabah and Sarawak, to render medical treatment to unwell detainees?
Are detainees given a full medical check-up in the initial stages of the detention in lock-ups? If the detainee is unwell, is he given immediate medical treatment or will he be taken to a clinic or hospital after being taken to court first?
Who monitors these pledges?
Most importantly, who monitors these pledges to ensure that they are followed through? Who is responsible when sick inmates are not given speedy and necessary treatment? Who is responsible when rogue officers take matters into their own hands and bash up inmates in lock-ups, detention centres and prisons in the name of extracting information from them?
Is it the duty of the investigating officer or any police officer to conduct interrogations or is it the duty of the prosecutor to do that? What is the Standard Operating Procedure followed in exerting force to derive information?
In 2016, the Bukit Aman management director Zulkifli Abdullah said that out of 704 lock-ups in the country, 58 will be fitted with Self-Monitoring Analytics Reporting Technology (Smart) CCTVs and will then be known as Smart Lock-ups.
These 58 CCTVs, costing RM 3.5 million, saw the first installation in the Jinjang Centralised Lock-up Centre, as a pilot project, and subsequent installations in all lock-ups thereafter. This May, Bernama reported that all 58 lock-ups have been installed with the Smart CCTVs.
With only eight percent of police lock-ups fitted with the Smart CCTVs, what then is the status of the installation of the balance of 646 CCTVs in lock-ups nationwide? How much longer is Putrajaya going to drag its feet to ensure that lock-ups in the country are equipped with these CCTVs?
It is evident that there has been a violation of these pledges and promises, and Putrajaya has committed a colossal violation of human rights by its severe lack of conscience, accountability and commitment in ensuring that miscreant officers don’t get away when they take laws into their own hands.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak must ensure that ministries and agencies under his administration prove to Malaysians alike that officers who abuse their positions by harming and abusing inmates be suspended, and tried in court like any other person who is subject to the laws of the land.
Regrettably, we are faced with six deaths in police custody under six months this year alone and no one has been held accountable for these deaths.
KASTHURI PATTO is the MP for Batu Kawan, from DAP.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.