Anwar says Kugan’s death not a racial issue

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said the death of suspected car thief Kugan Ananthan in police custody should not be turned into a racial issue.

“We must not take it as a racial issue. Just because an Indian is involved does not make it any less important,” said Anwar at a press conference here.

“As a Malay I don’t think it is wise to defend the crime and abuse of the BN led government. We must defend the rights of all Malaysians,” he added.

Anwar said that Pakatan Rakyat MPs would “not be silent” until the Home Minister assures Malaysians that this incident does not recur.

The Permatang Pauh MP also urged the government to form a royal commission of enquiry to uphold the integrity of the police force.

“I call on the government to form a royal commission to investigate the continuous crime of a small number of the police personnel, who are protected by higher ups to restore the image and credibility of the police and to protect the good name, of the majority of the police who have been serving well,” said Anwar.

Kugan, 22, died on Jan 20 at the USJ 8 police station, five days after he was detained while being interrogated by the police.

Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar reportedly said that Kugan collapsed after he asked for a glass of water when questioned by a police officer.

A post-mortem report later indicated that the suspect had died due to fluid in his lungs.

Kugan’s family members who were unsatisfied with the police’s explanation stormed the Serdang Hospital mortuary and took pictures of his body to prove their claim of torture by the police.

The family had also requested for a second post-mortem and the request had been granted by the authorities.