Guna’s death is police’s fault, claims lawyer

Joseph Sipalan
Sep 13, 10

The coroner’s court today was told that the blame for R Gunasegaran’s death in custody fell squarely on the police for their “actions and omissions”.

Counsel M Visvanathan, who is representing Gunasegaran’s family, claimed that the police had “expedited” Gunasegaran’s death by assaulting him while he was in detention and failing to provide him emergency first aid when he collapsed.

Visvanathan (left) added that the police officers involved in the case had failed in carrying out their duties, accusing them of refusing to act on information that they gathered from witnesses’ statements.

“It appears as if there is a conspiracy among several parties in this case to keep the truth behind Gunasegaran’s death from surfacing,” he said in his submission at the inquest.

Visvanathan went further by accusing the six police witnesses of lying to the court and giving statements that contradicted each other on numerous issues.

He maintained that Gunasegaran died from a large injury measuring nearly a foot long and five centimetres deep on his chest caused by a kick allegedly made by Lans Corporal Mohd Faizal Mat Taib, and not due to a drug overdose as claimed by deputy public prosecutor Shashitah Mohamad Hanifa.

Gunasegaran, 31, who was arrested on a drug charge, collapsed while being fingerprinted at the facility between 6.45pm and 7pm while in police custody and was pronounced dead at 7.40pm on July 16 at Kuala Lumpur Hospital last year.

The police said in its official findings that Gunasegaran died due to drug abuse.

Visvanathan however agreed with Shahsitah’s argument that the police officers involved had abused their powers and failed to follow procedure when carrying out their duties.

Officers were lax

Shahsitah earlier contended that the officers involved had failed to file a report on Gunasegaran’s arrest as required, neither have they filed a report to this day on Gunasegaran’s death in custody.

She added that the officers who detained Gunasegaran and four others in an anti-crime raid on July 16 last year did not make any notes in their pocket books.

The list went on with a clear violation of procedure when they recorded statements from the detainee witnesses at 2.30am and also contradictions between what was written in the station diary and the testimony of the officers regarding the time of the raid.

Earlier when taking the stand, Sergeant Major Rajinder Singh shot down an entry in the Sentul police station diary which recorded that the operation started at 3pm, saying that it was a mistake in the station diary while maintaining that the operation started at 5.30pm.

Shahsitah stressed that this failure to follow proper procedure shows a lack of responsibility among the officers involved and opened the police to “avoidable” accusations.

“However, what is clear is that the testimony of the experts must be considered by the court and it is difficult for the court not to accept the testimony that the cause of death is drug-related,” she said.

Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin has set aside Oct 21 to present the court’s findings.

Government Must Stop Attempts to Undermine Freedom of Expression

Press Statement: 6 September 2010

SUARAM condemns the recent crackdowns by the government which points to the continuing trend of intimidation to curb freedom of expression in the country.
SUARAM is appalled by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) recent charging of a blogger, Irwan Abdul Rahman, for a posting on his blog. The posting, a satire entitled “TNB to Sue WWF over Earth Hour”, earned Encik Irwan a charge under Section 233 (1) (a) of the MCMC Act 1998, for “improper use of network facilities […] by making […] any content that is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in characters with malicious intent”.

The MCMC’s charge is indeed frivolous as it has treated a satirical blog post intended to be humourous as one with “malicious intent”. However, even more worrying is that this case appears to be the latest of the numerous examples of the government’s attempts to shrink the public space for free expression and discussion, and to silence voices of dissent. Other recent crackdowns such as on prominent Chinese radio personality Jamaluddin Ibrahim, and Sarawak Tribune Editor, Paul Si point to a clear and continuing pattern of intimidation to curb freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Malaysia.

Further, SUARAM is concerned over Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s recently announced special task force, set up to monitor online postings that can cause “disunity and racial tension”, which could further strengthen the government’s control over the Internet. The setting up of this task force is also problematic as the record shows that the government’s enforcement of issues of racism has always been lopsided, with UMNO-linked personalities and organisations continuously allowed to make racist remarks freely and publicly without any repercussions or action by the authorities.

SUARAM calls upon the MCMC to drop its charge against Irwan Abdul Rahman immediately. SUARAM further urges the government to stop its intimidation and crackdown against those who exercise their fundamental right to free speech and expression.

Released by,
Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar

The Longest Detained ISA Detainee Shamsudin Sulaiman Released Partially but Many More Still Detained Under The ISA


Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomed the release of Shamsudin Bin Sulaiman, who has been the longest detained Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee since 17 April 2002. He was alleged to be a Jemaah Islamiah (JI) member but till now has not been charge in any open court.

SUARAM and GMI find that the release of Shamsudin Sulaiman as only partial because he is still being restricted to move and will be under police observation. Although we welcome the release but we condemn the government for being selective in the release of the detainees. We demand the government to release all the ISA detainees who has been detained without trial.

Shamsudin Sulaiman
Shamsuddin Sulaiman was arrested on the 17th April 2002 and was the longest serving detainee under the ISA. He was sent to the Police Remand Centre (PRC) at Kampung Batu, and was kept there for 56 days. On 13 June 2002, he was transferred to the Kamunting Detention Centre in the state of Perak. Shamsuddin was an Assistant Accountant at the Health Ministry before he was detained under the ISA. He was arrested because he was ‘perceived to be a threat’ to the country. Initially, he was accused of being a member of Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (KMM), a militant group. Thereafter, the Malaysian authorities dropped this charge against him and accused him of being a member of JI, another militant group. He has been held in solitary confinement for eight years, without charge or trial.

The Home Minister said that Shamsudin Sulaiman was not a threat anymore and there was a recommendation for him to be released.

GMI and SUARAM view this development as another ugly episode of the arbitrary nature of the ISA. Neither clear explanation nor details were given to the nature of the threat or national security risks. In fact under the ISA, the Home Minister has no obligation to disclose to the public or the courts the details of the detention or release. He has absolute power to detain a person without trial or proof, bypassing any judicial process as well as to extent the detention arbitrarily. This is a clear violation of rule of the law.

Detention without trial

The biggest argument against the ISA is the fact that it constitutes “detention without trial” which goes against the basic tenets of human rights. Since its inception, more than ten thousand people have been arrested under the ISA. Currently, there are 18 people still detained under the ISA. Under the ISA, a person is detained without trial or being charged. This means the person is not given an opportunity to be heard in court but is kept behind bars although he has not been found guilty of any offence.

No Amendments, Abolish ISA and the other repressive law!

GMI and SUARAM calls on the Government to respect the people’s demand to Abolish the ISA and other repressive laws that allows for detention without trial such as the Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Crime Prevention) 1969 (EO) and Dangerous Drugs Act Special Preventive Measures 1985 (DDA). The idea of amending these laws is unnecessary as long as it contains elements of detention without trial. All laws providing for detention without trial should go immediately. We therefore demand the government to abolish the ISA, EO and DDA immediately. We urge the government to pay damages to all the ISA, EO and DDA detainees who have been detained unlawfully under these acts and to resume their life that they have lost for so many years.

Released by,

Nalini. E
GMI Secretariat and SUARAM Coordinator

Public Forum: “Penang for Beng Hock”


Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) Penang, ALIRAN, Sembang-sembang Forum, Penang Branch of Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre, and Amnesty International cordially invite everybody to attend our public forum: “Penang for Beng Hock” (in English, Malay and Mandarin; interpreter will be provided) on 5th September 2010, 2.30-4.30p.m. at Han Chiang College, .

After 1 year of Teoh Beng Hock case happen, this tragedy making Malaysians cannot ignore this issue. During the year, Malaysians can easily see the judicature cannot bring justice for him, the recent‘suicide note’ and the Royal Commission of Inquiry not set up is more confirmed this.

In such circumstances, Beng Hock had become the sacrificial lamb of a distasteful power struggle fuelled by greed, hatred, and the thirst for revenge as the nation is experiencing democratic transition.

Therefore, we appeal to the citizens of Malaysia to attend a forum name: “Penang for Beng Hock”. Support Teoh’s family; Justice for Beng Hock!


1.Teoh Lee Lan (Beng Hock’s sister)

2.Dr.Toh Kin Woon (President of LLG,Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre, “Malaysians for beng hock”Campaign advisor)

3.P Ramakrishnan(President of Aliran)

4.Nora Murat (Executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia)


Ng Eng Kiat (Secretariat member of Suaram Penang)

Any questions, please contact Ong Jing Cheng 012-7583779 and also email: [email protected] Thank you!

Changes to Immigration Detention Centres Must Respect Human Rights

Press Statement: 26 August 2010

SUARAM welcomes the Malaysian Government’s move to review the management and upgrade the facilities of Immigration Detention Centres. National and international human rights organisations have long raised concerns regarding the deplorable conditions and poor management of detention centres but up until now, the Government has repeatedly denied such claims. By acknowledging the dire conditions at the detention centres, it stands to reason that the Government can no longer ignore this issue.

It was announced that the Government intends to revamp the detention centres within the next 3 months. However, SUARAM is concerned about some aspects of the announced plans which are as follows:

1.      Reinstating RELA to manage security
In November 2007, when the management of immigration detention centres were transferred from the Prisons Department to the Immigration Department, RELA personnel were deployed as the Immigration Department lacked personnel. Mid-2009 onwards, RELA personnel were withdrawn from the detention centres. During the period that RELA assisted in managing the detention centres, there were many allegations of poor treatment of detainees by RELA personnel, including verbal, psychological and physical abuse.

SUARAM is disappointed that the Government has made a u-turn on this decision by now including RELA in the management of the detention centres again. We have repeatedly argued that RELA personnel should not be given powers to act as law enforcement agencies as they do not have adequate training.

2.      Explore alternatives to detention
As most migrants detained in immigration detention centres are detained for flouting immigration laws and are not criminals, detention should be used as a last resort. If there is a need for them to be held for processing purposes, alternatives to detention must be explored such as those currently practiced in Australia, including community detention or case management[1].

Detention should not be the first option particularly when it comes to refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, children and trafficked victims. Refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons and trafficked victims cannot be deported, and as such should be released.

3.      Security should not be the main concern
Based on news reports, it seems like the Government is more concerned about the security aspect of immigration detention centres rather than the welfare of the detainees. SUARAM is of the view that adequate attention must be given to fulfilling the basic rights of the detainees. These include providing clothing, bedding, adequate clean water, sufficient diet, on-site access to health care, personal sanitary supplies, and daily activities.

In line with these serious concerns, SUARAM calls on the Government to:

  • Stop the use of RELA in the management of immigration detention centres.
  • Stop the detention of refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, trafficked victims and children.
  • Explore alternatives to detention as a method to minimise the use of detention as first resort for those who have violated immigration laws.
  • Ensure that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the management of immigration detention centres complies with international human rights standards such as the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.
  • Hold regular consultations with civil society and stakeholders to openly discuss and receive recommendations on how to improve the management of immigration detention centres.

Released by,
Temme Lee

[1]International Detention Coalition (2009) “Case management as an alternative to immigration detention: The Australian Experience”, at, accessed 25 April 2010.