74 custodial deaths recorded last year, says PM’s Dept


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 11 Jul 2024

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 74 custodial deaths were recorded in 2023, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

The Prime Minister’s Department said 22 custodial deaths were recorded at police facilities, with 12 at detention centres and 10 in lockups.

Some 11 deaths were recorded by the Prisons Department with four at the Sungai Udang Prison and three in Kluang Prison.

The Wangsa Maju police district office, Kajang Prison as well as Perlis and Tapah Correctional Centres recorded one case each.

Some 41 detainees, meanwhile, died at immigration depots.

“Cases comprised 37 males, two females and two children.

“Custodial deaths involved detainees from the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Palestine and Venezuela among others,” the Prime Minister’s Department said in a written parliamentary reply dated Thursday (July 11).

It added that 24 deaths occurred at immigration depots while 17 were at hospitals.

“Causes of death include pneumonia, heart failure and intracranial bleeding among others,” it said.

According to 2023 records, the Federal Court Chief Registrar’s Office reported that there were 33 convictions for murder and 18 convictions for causing death unintentionally.

The Prime Minister’s Department also pointed out that the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission is the sole body to monitor integrity matters among enforcement agencies.

“Investigating suspicious deaths at enforcement agencies, however, requires cooperation from all quarters to bring justice to all stakeholders in line with domestic and international laws,” it said.

The Department was responding to a question by R. Yuneswaran (PH-Segamat) who asked about the number of custodial deaths in 2023 and how many were convicted of murder and manslaughter.

He also asked whether the government had plans to form a commission and reopen investigations into custodial deaths suspected to be caused by enforcement officers.

On another matter, the Legal Affairs Division under the Prime Minister’s Department is set to meet with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to discuss the second phase of abolishing the mandatory death penalty.

This includes considering the need to study amendments towards Section 97 of the Child Act 2001.

The PM’s Department explained that following the abolishment of the mandatory death penalty, the court can impose alternative punishments including imprisonment, even for children.

“Under Section 97 of the Child Act, however, a minor who commits a crime can be detained for life in prison,” it said.

This was in response to another question by Yuneswaran who asked about the government’s consideration to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

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