Subang Jaya and Dang Wangi tops the number of deaths in police custody





Secretariat : SUARAM (Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd)
433A, 1st floor Jalan 5/46, Gasing Indah, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
(T) 603-7784 3525  (F) 603- 7784 3526    Email : [email protected]
Subang Jaya and Dang Wangi tops the number of deaths in police custody

Before even the waters calms down on the 3 deaths in police lockup within 11 days, we were shocked to hear of another death in police lockup. According to Bernama news report, Nobuhiro Matshushita, 33 years old Japanese was found dead hanging in the USJ 8 lockup cell.

He was arrested on the 2 Jun 2013 for whipping out a knife at the auxiliary policeman after trespassing into a university. The Selangor Police Chief Datuk A. Thaiveegen was quick at coming up with a claim that there is no foul play in the death of Nobuhiro. A point to note is that, on Dharmendran’s death on the 21st May 2013, Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department Chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ku Chin Wah claimed Dharmendran died due to ‘breathing difficulties’. This claim turned to be false and it came out ugly for the police force after the postmortem report shows that Dharmendran was beaten badly in the lockup.

The Stop State Violence Movement would like to remind the police force not to speculate any information to the public as this could be misleading. In accordance to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), Section 334 clearly states that a Magistrate shall in the case of a death in the custody of the police; hold an inquiry into the cause of death. Please stop speculating and assist for the rule of law to take place.

To be factually right, according to SUARAM’s monitoring, Malaysia has gone international last year itself in custodial death. Miss Tienthong Chaipaniya from Thailand died in Taman Johor Jaya police station on the 7 September 2012. The case goes unseen by the public.

The Subang Jaya police stations seems to be killing ground for suspects. The USJ 8 lockup cells has seen 2 deaths in 2013. Chan Chin Te died this year on 14 January, adding the list will be Nobuhiro. On 20 January 2009, Kugan Ananthan died in Taipan Police Station, Subang Jaya.

Similar to that police stations, the Dang Wangi police station has also seen more blood on their hands last year within a duration of 4 months. Details below:
1. Chandran Perumalu on 10 September 2012
2. Wong Tip Ping on 29 November 2012
3. Nagarajan on 24 December 2012

The Stop State Violence Movement demands an immediate end to these serious human rights violations. The failure to ensure effective mechanisms to hold the Malaysian police accountable highlights a serious lack of political will by the government to take genuine steps to reform the police force in this country. We demand the implementation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) now.

Stop State Violence Movement
1. Tenaganita
2. Lawyers For Liberty
4. Malaysians for Beng Hock
5. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas)
6. Amnesty International Malaysia
7. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Masyarakat (Empower)
8. Malaysia Youth And Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
9. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
10. Civil Rights Committee of KLSCAH
12. Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre
13. KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth
14. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
15. Community Development Centre (CDC)
16. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
17. Persatuan masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
18. Community Action Network (CAN)
19. Serdang Bahru School Alumni Youth Section
20. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & KL (Prihatin)
21. Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)
26. Sunflower Electoral Education Movement (SEED)
27. Japan Graduates’ Association of Malaysia
28. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita
29. Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)

Malaysian crackdown under Sedition and assembly laws exposed at UN

Press Statement: 10 June 2013

Malaysian crackdown under Sedition and assembly laws exposed at UN


SUARAM has exposed the selective persecution of civil society and opposition groups at the United Nations from 28th May till 4thJune by highlighting the recent crackdown, arrests of six Malaysians under sedition and public assembly laws.


SUARAM on behalf of Aliran, meeting in Geneva for the 23rd Session of the world body’s Human Rights Council, outlined for the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression how the Sedition Act of 1948 and the Public Assembly Act of 2012 had together been used with great prejudice to stifle all protests against a tainted general election, held on May 5, and the contentious results.


SUARAM turned the UN spotlight to how Malaysian laws that oppress freedom of expression have been used to crack down on young undergraduates Mohammad Safwan Anang and Adam Adli, both aged 24. SUARAM also revealed the arrests of two opposition MPs, Tian Chua and Tamrin Ghafar, social activists Haris Ibrahim of Anything But Umno (ABU) and playwright and civil society activist Hishamuddin Rais. All six attended a post-general election forum last May 13, when calls were made for a mammoth, million-strong rally to protest alleged electoral fraud. SUARAM also told the UN Rapporteur that 18 Malaysians who held a candle-light vigil for the detained student Adam were also arrested.


SUARAM also detailed incidents of political violence for the UN, including the assault of two men putting up opposition party flags by five assailants, the detonation of explosive devises, launching of petrol bombs and the torching of a car linked to an opposition party member.


The SUARAM team also had a private meeting with UN Special Rapporteur Mr Frank La Rue after his official address to highlight their concerns and urge an urgent mission by the SR to Malaysia in the near future. Mr La Rue has requested an invitation to conduct a mission to Malaysia on 2 occasions previously but to date the Malaysian government has refused such a visit.SUARAM raised the injustice of S.114A of the Evidence Act, which now allows individuals or intermediaries to be punished for online content they have not created and have no control over.


On the 4th June ,at a side event organised by Forum Asia entitled ‘Freedom of Assembly &Expression in the context of Elections’, SUARAM delegation  also briefed international diplomats and human rights organisations on the long list of electoral fraud allegations in the days leading up to the general election and on the May 5 polling day itself and how the Malaysian government is using a crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly to suppress these details from reaching the international community.


SUARAM was however encouraged to learn that the Malaysian government has extended an invitation for a visit to the UN Special Rapporteur on Peaceful Assembly Mr Maina Kiai  and SUARAM will now mobilize civil society to urge the Malaysian government to provide firm dates in the near future for such a mission.


Released by,


Nalini Elumalai

Executive Director


Malaysia brings deceit, hypocrisy to UN


Press Statement: 1 June 2013

Malaysia brings deceit, hypocrisy to UN


The Malaysian government is exposing its own deceit and hypocrisy on the world stage, formally espousing co-operation and engagement over human rights issues at the United Nations while the facts reveal it has jailed, suppressed and intimidated ordinary Malaysians, activist leaders, civil society groups, government critics and opposition politicians at home.

Meeting in Geneva for the 23rd Session of the world body’s Human Rights Council, SUARAM and Aliran  pointed to a statement by the office of Malaysia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, which painted a picture of the BN government as an advocate of human rights.


“The government’s statement completely ignored the ongoing suppression of the rights of civil society and politicians, which has made world news in the weeks following the latest general election,” said Nalini Elumalai, the Executive Director of SUARAM, who heads a delegation that includes Yolanda Augustin and Bala Chelliah.


The Malaysians were this week in Geneva to address the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Maina Kiai, and UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Frank La Rue.


The Malaysian statement was made in a formal reply to a report by Mr Kiai, who expressed concern “about the alleged attacks against human rights defenders” after the recent 13th general election”. Mr Kiai’s reference to Bersih and SUARAM, and how its leaders and supporters faced intimidation and harassment by BN politicians, as well as the Registrar of Societies (ROS) and the Companies Commission (CCM) of Malaysia, was clear and direct, but it was totally ignored in Malaysia’s response.


In his opening address at the interactive dialogue on Freedom of Assembly and of Association on the 30th of May 2013 Maiana Kiai mentioned Malaysia further and highlighted the fact that although the Malaysian government has offered an invitation of an official mission visit to Malaysia to date they have not confirmed the specific dates of such a mission.

SUARAM’s Nalini Elumalai today said: “None of the issues and particularly the factual accounts of arrests, detentions, political violence, threats, intimidation and harassment of civil leaders and politicians was addressed in Malaysia’s reply .Individuals including young students were either in detention or facing arrest even as Malaysia’s statement was delivered to the UN.”

“Freedom of expression is suffering under a serious assault by the government and its institutions, and Malaysians have been threatened with the revocation of their passports for simply participating in rallies that demand fair and free elections. Malaysia chose to ignore these issues and reports, despite the entire world body hearing of serious violations of universally accepted human rights.”


Mr Kiai’s report also noted that Malaysia had failed to respond on two specific issues raised by his office – allegations of on-going investigations against members of SUARAM under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA 2012) and police investigations involving 14 activists who allegedly brought children to a recent opposition-led rally.


The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, also tabled a report to the UN’s 23rd Session that referred to ongoing attacks on human rights defenders.


“The right of Malaysians, and politicians in particular, to travel freely within the federation has also been denied,”  Nalini Elumalai said, referring to the blocking of Nurul Izzah’s planned visit to Sabah. “This is now world news, but Malaysia takes to the world stage shamelessly ignoring these dangerous developments and precedents.”


Nalini welcomed “Putrajaya’s responsible stand as a global citizen on Syria and Myanmar”, and called on Malaysia “should not delay any further in ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”). This is an independent and permanent court of last resort to try persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression”.


But she said: “Malaysia will continue to operate its detention centre in Kamunting and hold 15 citizens under the Internal Security Act, which no longer exists, while it calls for the closing of the US offshore detention facility in Guantanamo. It only serves to depict Malaysia as a two-faced member state of the UN that refuses to address the truth of its own deprivations.”

Remembering Ulaganathan in the midst of custodial deaths

Press Statement: 29 May 2013

Remembering Ulaganathan in the midst of custodial deaths

The name Ulaganathan does not ring a bell anymore. His name might have been a household name in 2003 like other custodial death victims like Dharmendran and Kugan.

Ulaganathan s/o Muniandy was a 19 years old young man when he died while under police custody. With no previous criminal records, he was detained on 12 May 2003 as a murder suspect in Balakong, Selangor. At the time of his arrest, he was helping his mother, Mdm Tamil Selwee at a food stall.

On the 13 May 2003, Tamil Selwee tried to visit Ulaganathan at the Kajang Police Station, but she was denied from doing so. She was subsequently allowed to meet her son on the 16 May 2003. She saw Ulaganathan’s swollen eyes. Her second visit was on 23 May 2003, where she noticed that this time, Ulaganathan was walking with a limp because the sole of his foot was swollen. The swell on his eyes were still visible.

The mother’s third visit was on the 30 May 2003. No improvements to his eyes and leg. She noticed Ulaganathan had lost tremendous amount of weight and he complained to her that his body was aching and he could not sleep well at night. His foot and eyes were still visibly swollen. Mdm Tamil Selwee’s last visit was on the 11 July 2003. Ulaganathan’s condition had worsened to the state where he was unable to sit down and have his meal.

Finally, on 20 July 2003, Ulaganathan was rushed to Kajang Hospital after he had difficulties in breathing and vomiting. He was sent back to lockup after released by the hospital. The next day, 21July 2003, at or about 3:00AM, Mdm Tamil Selwee received the news that her only son in the family had left them for good. A police officer who spoke to her informed that Ulaganathan had died of asthma. To further make thing worst, the cause of death was classified as “Undetermined” in the death certificate.

SUARAM reiterates that Section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that a Magistrate shall in the case of a death in the custody of the police; hold an inquiry into the cause of death. In the case of Ulaganathan, an inquest was only held in 2007, 4 years after his death. Furthermore the inquest came about after continuous effort to seek justice for Ulaganathan by the family and lawyers. In August 2011, the findings of the inquest returned an “Open Verdict”. The Magistrate was unable to determine the cause of death of Ulaganathan.

SUARAM with the help of Malaysian Bar Council filed a civil suit against the police in July 2006. Two years later, the judge granted the following;-

a. A declaration that the death of Ulaganathan, deceased on 21 July 2003 in the custody of the PDRM was caused by the unlawful acts of the PDRM; and
b. A declaration that the death of Ulaganathan was caused by the breach of statutory duties of the PDRM.

Currently, the hearing of assessment of damages is taking place. Lawyer, Roger Chan Weng Keng has been assisting the family on getting a reasonable sum to support the family financially. Today, 29 May 2013, the case management of Tamil Selwee’s suit is still ongoing. The DPP requested proof of Ulaganathan’s income way back before he died. It was produced today by Tamil Selwee’s lawyer.

The cries on death in custody seem to be falling on deaf ears. The value of a suspect’s life is not important to the police. The horrible death of Dharmendran on the 21 May 2013 in IPK KL proves our police force has zero humanity.

Released by,
Thevarajan R
SUARAM Coordinator

SUARAM Warns of Operasi Lalang II

Press Statement: 29th May, 2013


SUARAM is appalled at the State’s demonstration of might over the people’s rights in recent times. The government, with the Home Ministry and police in complicity struck fear and imposed threats to the dissenters. Calls from the local and international civil societies for an end to the massive crackdown had been ignored in toto.

Haris Ibrahim, Tamrin Ghafar and Chua Tian Chang were re-arrested under the Sedition Act 1948 yesterday evening just days after being released by the Magistrate. They were charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act today together with student activist Safwan Anang. Yazid Sufaat and Hilmi Hasim were re-arrested and charged under S130KA of the Penal Code for alleged terrorism offences after being released more than a week ago. Six Pakatan Rakyat leaders were charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 for alleged violations of the unconstitutional Act.

Apart from the police’s overpowering authority in the recent crackdown, it was reported that there were two deaths being caused by the police under their custody. N. Dharmendran (Accused) and R. Jamesh Ramesh (Suspect) were found dead in police custody in a matter of a week’s time.

SUARAM is gravely concerned on the state of Malaysia at present. For as long as SUARAM has existed, violations of human rights, civil liberties and police brutality by the Barisan Nasional government had never seen a decline.

The recent spate of crackdown reminisces the dark periods of Operasi Lalang under the repressive governance of Mahathir. Prime Minister Najib must not only unlearn the past tyrannies but must be seen to redeem the people’s trust and confidence in his government. The Prime Minister must stop hiding behind the Home Minister and the IGP, whom had sufficiently demonstrated the State’s powers against any kinds of dissent from the people.

SUARAM demands an explanation from Prime Minister Najib on the failure of his promises to ensure greater freedoms and liberties to the people. What we see on a daily basis is a total departure from his pledges. The use of his brainchild, the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and SOSMA 2012 which, ironically the product of a ‘delicate’ balance between security and freedoms, to silence the people had proven just that.

Would the Prime Minister step forward to end all intimidation and harassment against these peaceful dissenters? Would the Prime Minister send a strong message to the IGP and Home Minister to look at the realities of the present scenarios? We shall only hope that these are not the symptoms of Operasi Lalang II.

Released by,

Nalini Elumalai
Executive Director