I view with extreme outrage and concern at the Cononer’s “open verdict” in R.Gunasegaran’s death in police custody inquest – the latest in the long list of inquests where the magistrates acting as coroners have failed to discharge their duties to impartially inquire into the cause of death and find the perpetrators involved.
Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin like so many other previous coroners, went out of her way to protect the policemen and the hospital personnel involved in covering up for the police – in order to cast doubt into the cause of death so that an “open verdict” can be found. This effectively meant that the police are not to be blamed as the cause of death was not determined.
It is a scandal how she can arrive at an “open verdict” when there were 4 eyewitnesses to the deceased being assaulted by Lance Corporal Mohd Faizal Mat Taib. She even pondered whether the injuries could have been caused by efforts to resuscitate the deceased even though the medical officer testified that no effort was made at resuscitation!
It is shocking indictment of the poor standard of the country’s criminal justice system and lawlessness of the PDRM when so many people, mostly young men in good health can be detained by the police but end up dead. The situation is made worse when the medical authorities in charge of conducting post-mortems normally do a poor job as did the Kuala Lumpur Hospital in this instance, had even failed to store the body properly causing it to rot.
The overwhelming majority of deaths in police custody cases are only investigated internally by the police themselves which are obviously unsatisfactory. The few cases that are subjected to inquests have shown to be very slow and ineffective e.g. the inquest into the death of Ulaganathan Muniandy, then 19 years old in 2003 – after numerous postponements, has yet to be completed.
According to the Royal Commission on the Police report in 2005, there have only been 6 inquests carried out for the deaths of 80 people while in police custody between 2000 and 2004.
This trend of hospitals colluding with the police in covering up crimes, and the coroners stamping “open verdicts” in inquests cannot be allowed to continue as I fear that the serious damage done to these key state institutions’ credibility may be irreversible and may lead the rakyat into cynicism or worse take matters into their own hands as the rakyat simply cannot get justice.
The death of R. Gunasegaran, then only 31 years old at the Sentul Police Station, is neither an isolated incident nor the case of a few rotten apples but a wider and serious problem of the institutions’ lack of accountability, transparency and independence that allow such deaths to be covered up with no justice for the rakyat.
Ramai orang berfikir bahawa Ahli Parlimen (MP) dapat menyelesaikan semua masalah mereka. Sebenarnya, tidak. MP adalah untuk membantu dalam masalah melibatkan Parlimen atau Kerajaan Persekutuan. Maka, untuk kebanyakan masalah, langkah pertama sepatutnya adalah menghubungi Ahli Majlis tempatan.
Ahli Parlimen anda bukanlah untuk membantu menyelesaikan pertikaian antara jiran, majikan, ahli keluarga atau perniagaan yang telah menjualkan barangan yang rosak atau sebarang keputusan mahkamah.
Rakyat atau pengundi biasanya membawa masalah mereka kepada MP kerana mereka tidak tahu ke mana nak pergi untuk meminta bantuan. MP kebiasaannya akan memberi bantuan dan nasihat di pusat khidmat mereka. Masalah kerajaan tempatan seperti pengutipan sampah, lampu jalan dll akan disalurkan kepada Ahli Majlis berkenaan.
Ahli Parlimen anda akan membantu seberapa yang boleh tetapi perlu diingatkan bahawa setiap Kawasan Parlimen mempunyai sekurang kurang 100,000 penduduk. Maka adalah penting untuk MP menggunakan masa nya untuk menyelesaikan masalah yang sepatutnya tanpa membazir terlalu banyak masa dalam isu-isu yang sepatutnya dikendalikan oleh pihak Ahli Majlis dan kerajaan tempatan.