KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) will hold a public inquiry into the alleged violation of human rights by the police in Ranau last year.
Suhakam vice-chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun said the inquiry would be conducted by a panel of three commissioners, comprising Datuk K.C. Vohrah, Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ramon Navaratnam and Datuk Dr Abdul Monir Yaacob in Kundasang.
He said Suhakam decided on the inquiry after the police did not respond directly to it over its request for their side of the story on claims by 18 villagers of being “inhumanly” treated while detained at the Ranau district police lockup in May last year.
“We brought the matter to Suhakam’s Complaint and Inquiry Working Group where we had a lengthy deliberation on the case,” Sipaun said at a press conference to announce a human rights drawing exhibition to be launched at the Sabah Arts Gallery here on Thursday.
Last year, former Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Yusuff said that police had responded to Suhakam’s queries via Bukit Aman.
He had then given an assurance that they would co-operate with the human rights body.
However, Sipaun had maintained that they did not receive a reply from the police.
The public inquiry into the alleged abuse of human rights brought up by a group of 18 Kampung Desa Monteki villagers in Kundasang, about 100km from here, would be the first to be conducted in Sabah by Suhakam.
The villagers in their memorandum to Suhakam on June 18 last year had claimed that they were not given proper treatment while being detained for 14 days at the Ranau lockup after their arrest along with 56 others for staging a protest against their eviction from a 40ha piece of land where they lived.
Sipaun said that Suhakam’s investigations would only centre on whether there was any human rights violation as claimed by the villagers.
On the exhibition, he said Suhakam would be displaying 68 of the 4,504 entries received during last year’s national-level human rights drawing competition for children.