Gombak police chief demands RM10m, apology from FMT over transfer articles

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Outgoing Gombak police chief Arifai Tarawe is demanding RM10 million and an apology from news portal Free Malaysia Today over two articles on his forthcoming transfer to Bukit Aman.

Arifai is due to be transferred to Bukit Aman’s Integrity and Standards Compliance Department on June 21.

FMT reported the transfer with the headlines “Under-fire Gombak police chief transferred to Integrity Unit” and “Ketua polis daerah Gombak ditukarkan ke Unit Integriti Bukit Aman”.

It highlighted that at the time the transfer was announced, Arifai) and the Gombak Police Department were in the spotlight over the alleged custodial death of A Ganapathy.

Arifai, in a statement yesterday, said the two articles painted a negative perception of his integrity and name.

He also said the articles gave the impression that he and the police were fully responsible for Ganapathy’s death.

Arifai on April 30 said there was no evidence that Ganapathy died while in police custody.

A legal letter from law firm Adam Aziz & Co yesterday gave FMT 24 hours to delete the two articles and issue an apology within 48 hours as well as pay RM10 million in damages.

If all three demands are not met, a lawsuit would be initiated against the news portal.

However, FMT has refused to budge.

“We believe there was no inference of any wrongdoing or misdeeds, whether on the part of the police force as a whole, the particular officer, or anyone else in the report,” FMT managing editor Dorairaj Nadason was quoted as saying by the portal.

“Our solicitors will respond appropriately and take the necessary action to defend our journalistic integrity,” Dorairaj added.

Previously, police took statements from Malaysiakini’s journalists over three articles on Ganapathy.

It is understood that the case is being investigated under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code for causing public treason with the intention of causing fear to the public.

Malaysiakini understands that a police report was lodged by an investigating officer who is handling the investigation into Ganapathy’s death.

Forty-year-old Ganapathy was arrested on Feb 24 to facilitate the investigation of a sibling who is wanted by the police.

He was released on March 8 but was then admitted to Selayang Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. He reportedly told his mother that police had beaten him with a rubber hose.

While at the hospital, Ganapathy was confirmed to have kidney problems and his legs had to be amputated.

Ganapathy died at the hospital on April 18. The family’s lawyer said an autopsy revealed the death was due to injuries to his legs and shoulders. – Malaysiakini