Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree

In much of the commentary thus far on the sudden death of Kugan Ananthan while in police custody, the focus has been on the need for greater control and supervision of the police to ensure the accountability and transparency so crucial to the curbing of abuses of power.

I too have written elsewhere that the Government’s refusal to establish the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is impeding its ability to deal with the attitudes and practices that have resulted in a discomforting prevalence of sudden deaths in custody.

That this is an important aspect of any meaningful and coherent effort to curb abuses of power by the police cannot be emphasised enough. The issue is really a systemic one; it is the system that is failing Malaysians and allowing for the kind of horrific events that we have been made to bear witness to far too often this last decade.

Having said that, other more immediate solutions or deterrents are no less important. A transparent investigation into the death and due prosecution of all those involved to the fullest extent of the law would serve the interest of Kugan’s family and the wider public by ensuring that justice is not only done but is also seen to be done. This would go far in helping staunch the hemorrhage of public confidence in the institution. Immediate disciplinary action would reinforce the gains.