PETALING JAYA: Steps are being taken to remedy the situation at immigration detention centres which have seen more than 100 deaths over the past two years.
Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said the Immigration Department had introduced major reforms at its detention centres.
"At a meeting last week, the Immigration Department informed us that the dilapidated centres are in the process of being rebuilt, standard operating procedures are being revised and healthcare improved.
"We also note that there are now medical assistants at every immigration depot," said Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail (pic) on a statement Saturday.
However, due to severe budget and resource constraints faced by the Department and their focus on emergency healthcare, Razali recommended that the Health Ministry step in to improve the standard of healthcare in the centres.
"Many deaths in immigration detention centres were due to chronic health conditions such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and septicaemia.
"The Health Ministry in our opinion must be responsible for the supply and maintenance of medicines and medical equipment. The current practice requires the Immigration Department to purchase their own medicines without proper guidance by medical doctors," he said.
Razali also recommended that various agencies including the Home Ministry, Finance Ministry and Health Ministry develop a close working relationship to ensure proper standards of medical treatment for detainees as well as protection for immigration detention centre personnel.
"The role of the Health Ministry should be strengthened in the domain of immigration health care in accordance with clear policies or legislation.
"A clear division of responsibility should be established between the ministries which should cooperate in implementing an integrated health policy within immigration detention centres," he said, adding that Malaysia's national health policy must be based on the belief that everyone living within our borders has a right to adequate health care.