Prisons, Lockups Must Be Reformed

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Nurul Izzah says some of the laws in the Prison’s Act are archaic and a Bill is expected to be tabled soon to introduce reforms.

Prisons and lockups are in for institutional reforms as an amendment bill is expected to be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat.

PKR’s vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said some of these laws are archaic.

“Prison reforms were also mentioned by Zahid Hamidi (former deputy prime minister and home minister) but there was no political will to implement them.

“We need to improve our prison system which dates back to British time. We need to improve this to suit current needs and requirements,” she told reporters.

The Permatang Pauh MP said the previous administration had a document on the reforms but it was not tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.

She added the hygienic and living conditions at police stations and police barracks would need to be looked into.

She was speaking to reporters after launching a 149-page book written by PKR’s vice-president Tian Chua, titled ‘Tian Chua’s Kajang Diary: A Prison Retreat’, on his one-month experience at the Kajang Prison last September.

Kamal Ariffin/The Malaysian Insight

He was jailed after he withdrew his appeal before the Court of Appeal on Sept 29. This was in relation to a charge of refusing a police order to leave the restricted Police Training Centre (Pulapol) area following the Bersih 3 rally in 2012.

He had appealed against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision to uphold the Sessions’ Court sentence of one month’s jail and a fine of RM1,000.

Tian Chua, who was formerly Batu MP, said amendments to the Prison Act 1995 would include reforming the standard operating procedures and training policemen in handling detainees.

“A lot of abuses take place in police lockups, more than in prisons.

“The conditions in the police lockups need to be improved too,” he said, adding that in some cases the hygiene of detainees was neglected.

Zahid had previously said there were 1,654 cases of deaths in custody recorded in Malaysia between 2010 until February 2017.

He said all the deaths occurred while the occupants were receiving treatment in hospital for various health problems.

This includes health issues such as HIV, cancer, heart problems, TB and asthma, he added. – FMT