KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s lock-ups are going smart with the installation of an intelligent monitoring system that can detect suspicious behaviour by inmates.
The Self-Monitoring Analytics Reporting Technology (SMART) works by recognising unusual movements and behaviour, such as loitering, climbing, vandalism, suicidal tendencies and fighting.
A 3D location marker then pinpoints the incident area and an alert is sent to the prison authorities.
It was developed by Mimos – the national applied research and development centre for information and communications technology – with the police and Suhakam, the national human rights commission.
SMART, which ran as a pilot programme at the Jinjang central lock-up, has now been installed in 57 other major facilities in the country, said Bukit Aman Management director Comm Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah.
“In the past there have been incidents, like deaths in custody, that put the police in a bad light. We started developing this system in 2013 as a way to improve on that,” he told a press conference at the Jinjang lock-up yesterday.
He said the system would help the police mind the welfare of the detainees as well as allow them to be more transparent, in case of a complaint of abuse.
“There have been cases when someone has had a heart attack and was only found dead the next morning. Hopefully, with this system, such incidents can be avoided and inmates can get medical attention much faster,” he said.
Comm Zulkifli said the system, which cost about RM1mil to develop and about RM3.5mil to install, had won the Asia Pacific Enterprise Innovation Award.
Deaths while in custody has been a lightning rod issue with Suhakam, claiming that the number of deaths in police custody is significantly high and that the figures show a possible systemic problem in managing and handling detainees in the lock-ups.
Among the major cases is that of N. Dhamendran, 32, who was found dead while in police custody at IPK Kuala Lumpur on May 21, 2013.
Another was a 2009 case; A. Kugan, 22, who was detained by police on Jan 15 that year for alleged car theft but died while in custody five days later.