The statistics from the Home Minister, YB Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi[1] indicates that 231 custodial death cases were recorded between the year 2000 and May 2013, with only two cases caused by the police. According to the latest statistics from Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM), from the year 2000 until August 2013, a total of 233 died in police custody. There have been 19 deaths reported in 2013 alone and 4 deaths in first two months of 2014.

Despite claims by the Minister in charge that these were a small number of deaths, SUHAKAM observes there was an average of 19 people had died every year under the watch of police force. This indicates a presence of systemic problems in managing and handling detainees in lock-ups.

SUHAKAM takes a serious view of death in custody as every individual is entitled to his/her fundamental right to life as enshrined in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). While there is no simple formula to ensure the safety of the detainees, SUHAKAM deems it important for all stakeholders to work together in preventing custodial deaths.

As part of its effort to address this systemic issue, SUHAKAM has embarked on a study to look into circumstances which leads to and/or causes death in custody, particularly trends and common factors surrounding deaths and lessons that can be learned from findings to prevent future custodial deaths. This study also aimed at assessing the condition of police personnel responsible for administrating and supervising detainees.

For the purpose of this study, SUHAKAM will be visiting 43 lock-ups in the country including Sabah and Sarawak, with the aim of compiling first hand data and information which will be included into a comprehensive report. The final outcome report will contain details on the Commission’s findings as well as recommendations on measures that can be undertaken to prevent the occurrence of death in police custody.

Kindly find the report at this link


[1] Dewan Rakyat, Parlimen Ketiga Belas, Penggal Pertama, Mesyuarat Pertama, Bil 3, Rabu, 26 Jun 2013.