Malaysian Bar calls for an independent probe into A. Ganapathy’s death

KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 – The Malaysian Bar today called for an immediate and independent investigation and inquest into the death of A. Ganapathy who recently died in a hospital shortly after his release from police custody.

Expressing his dismay and sadness over the death of A. Ganapathy in a press release today, Malaysian Bar President AG Kalidas also called for an immediate reform in police custody practices.

It was reported that A Ganapathy had spent 12 days in police custody before being released and was admitted to Selayang hospital, where he died.

Kalidas said an immediate probe into the death of A Ganapathy should be a high priority as it was a matter of great public concern and added that the investigation should be thorough and transparent in order to uncover the facts surrounding his death.

“In times like these, the need for the formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (“IPCMC”) to act as an external and independent civilian oversight body to investigate complaints about police personnel and to clothe it with disciplinary authority, cannot be overstated.

“The current Independent Police Conduct Commission (“IPCC”) Bill proposed by the Government lacks the bite to ensure genuine and independent transparency and accountability in the force.”

While the police have issued a statement that A Ganapathy’s cause of death was Necrotising Fasciitis of the right lower limb complicated with sepsis, A Ganapathy’s lawyer was reported to have said that the autopsy report found that A. Ganapathy had succumbed to injuries inflicted on his shoulders and legs.

The police also said there is no evidence that he had been beaten while in custody.

The Malaysian Bar has also pushed for the introduction of an independent Coroners Act in relation to deaths under suspicious circumstances, saying such an Act would serve to strengthen the role of Coroners through fundamental structural reforms, including the ability to supervise and direct comprehensive investigations to determine the cause of death and to provide greater clarity in its inquiry processes.

“There should be no further delay in the enactment of such a Coroners Act. The questions surrounding A Ganapathy’s death make the need for IPCMC and the independent Coroners Act all the more dire.

“Unabated deaths in custody have led to an erosion of confidence in law enforcement authorities. It is therefore incumbent on such authorities — including the police — to ensure that the confidence instilled in them by those they are tasked to protect, is safeguarded and deserved. The formation of the IPCMC and the enactment of an independent Coroners Act will not only ensure a transparent and accountable police force in our country, which are essential, but will also strengthen public confidence in our police force,” Kalidas said.