Kapar MP: Police turned Kugan into a hero

By Neville Spykerman (The Malaysian Insider)

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar was taken to task today for suggesting that Kugan Ananthan, who died while in police custody, was a criminal.

Family lawyer N.Surendren said if Kugan was alive he could sue Syed Hamid for defamation but the Home Minister was hiding behind the fact that the dead cannot sue for defamation.

Yesterday Syed Hamid reportedly said people should not regard criminals as heroes and the police, who enforce the law, as demons.

He said he was not likening his statement to any case but speaking generally but added that Kugan was arrested for investigation into car thefts and armed robbery.

However Surendren said Kugan was never brought to court to be charged, was never convicted and did not have a criminal record.

“In this country one is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty and Syed Hamid should know this.”

Surendren said Kugan’s family was deeply saddened at Syed Hamid’s suggestion that he was a criminal.

“Imagine how they feel? They (police) caught him, (had) beaten him… Now they labelled him a criminal without the due process of the law.”

Surendren said Syed Hamid should abolish the court system and make the police judge, jury and executioner, in all cases.

He also lashed out at Syed Hamid for claiming the case has been turned into a racial issue.

“Which world is Syed Hamid living in? Deaths in custody are a national issue which has involved even Malay and Chinese detainees. All Malaysians are outraged by this case.”

Meanwhile Kapar Member Parliament S.Manikavasagam, who was with Surendren at the Brickfields police station, said it’s the police who turned Kugan into a hero.

They were speaking to the press after lodging a police a report against Selangor Police Chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar for claiming that Kugan’s family and friends had barged into the Serdang Hospital mortuary, last Tuesday, and tampered with his body.

A recording of the incident was shown to reporters and Manikavasagam added that the investigating officer from the Sepang District Headquarters had also seen it earlier in the day, at his (Manikavasagam) office.

Manikavasagan said the police were attempting to use the incident at the mortuary to divert attention from the real issue which is Kugan’s death in custody.

“The recording clearly shows the mortuary attendant opening the doors for the grieving family and friends.”

He added that the officer investigating the case was surprised and taken aback when shown the recording.