KUALA LUMPUR, 24 June 2009: The Attorney General (AG)’s Chambers will not take any action against the perpetrators of A Kugan‘s death before 21 Aug 2009.
“Investigations [into Kugan’s death while in police detention] were scheduled to resume on 19 June 2009, but it has been delayed until 21 August 2009.
Nazri Aziz (File pic) A decision is expected after this date,” said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in a written answer in Parliament today.
Nazri was answering a question from PKR MP for Batu, Tian Chua, on 22 June.
Nazri explained that the delay was due to a Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) inquiry into a complaint made against Dr Abdul Karim Tajuddin.
Dr Abdul Karim was responsible for the first post-mortem into Kugan’s death. This post-mortem, conducted at Serdang Hospital, stated that Kugan had died because of fluid accumulation in the lungs.
However, Kugan’s family demanded for a second post-mortem to be independently conducted after they found his body bruised and marked.
The second post-mortem found that 22-year-old Kugan was beaten so badly while in police custody that he died of kidney failure.
An independent committee investigating the two post-mortem reports later concluded that Kugan died of swelling or fluid build-up in the lungs, due to acute inflammation of the heart muscle compounded by blunt force trauma.
Previously, Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail classified Kugan’s death as murder.
Tian Chua “The Attorney General has not begun the prosecution of this case in court, because it wants to obtain all testimony, without omission,” Nazri said. “This includes waiting for the outcome of the inquiry by the MMC.”
Chua, in a press conference in Parliament today, accused the government of delaying the case.
“Whether [Abdul Karim] breached [professional] ethics or the trust of the people is not the issue. It is not our problem, it is the government’s,” Chua said.
“My question is the status of the case and when they are going to proceed with the prosecution of the suspects,” he added.
“This shows they are not seriously investigating a crime that happened in police confinement,” Chua said.
Still no action – a nation of corruption, deception, and betrayal.
Gopal Raj Kumar says
The Attorney General’s department, the prosecutors, the government and any other party involved in the Kugan case may believe they have a monopoly over deaths in custody.
There is somehow a belief that by delaying it, a tactical advantage is enjoyed by an embarrassed prosecution and defence in the matter.
Unless the government informs itself of recent developments in international laws, it opens itself to recriminations from its handling of the matter when their delays would compel the matter being heard at least at the civil level in a foreign court.
As far as I am able to ascertain, there are moves afoot abroad to bring a civil suit against three major industrial companies (foreign) who are likely defendants in a US District Court civil action in this affair.
In the event the body of lawyers who have been at the heart of moves to commence action to attack the Malaysian police force and the department of justice in Malaysia on behalf of the deceased and other victims through more robust legal systems abroad, the AG’s position with respect to this matter will be undermined severely and pale into insignificance when they decide they are ready to proceed.
The matter will assume a life of its own then and the AG will be powerless to do anything other than to be reactionary without any capacity to control the proceedings or its outcomes or lend any meaningful purpose to it.
If that does occur, it will be humiliating and an embarrassment to Malaysia’s government and the AG and will hand, on a silver plate, opponents of the government an ideal and wide platform without hindrance to expose those very internal matters Malaysia seeks to keep under wraps for the moment.
Perhaps the government should at least refrain from making statements of the kind they have been making in respect of this matter till they are genuinely ready to proceed.
In the interim they would be providing themselves a plausible moral defence by locking up without bail or pay, those they believe may have been responsible for the events that led to the arrest, detention and torture resulting in the death of Kugan.
Opinions by professionals providing support to the process such as that which is provided by doctors too have to be handled with a little more care than it has been.
The readiness and the haste which they appear to draw conclusions in their professional reports leaves a lot to be desired and ammunition to be attacked on by more competent and experienced individuals and institutions abroad.
The evidence they place before the world to see demonstrates the level of competence or lack of it which they exercise in the discharge of their professional duties which is the last thing a doctor or lawyer would desire in a more independent jurisdiction where the standards of evidence are much higher.
Caution is perhaps the best word on these matters.