GEORGE TOWN, June 9 — Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy plans to seek an immediate inquest at the coroner’s court following the death of a 26-year-old lorry driver at the Bukit Mertajam Hospital over the weekend.
S. Agin Raj Naidu had allegedly died at the hospital following an epileptic attack on Saturday after being taken to the hospital from the Bandar Perda police lock-up.
Ramasamy said only an inquest would unveil the cause behind Agin Raj’s death which was allegedly due to police brutality.
“I call on the police to immediately look into this matter seriously,” said Ramasamy.
Agin Raj’s sister Regina Devi, had claimed there were injuries on his body and legs.
“I believe my brother was beaten up while under police custody as there were marks on his body and his legs are also swollen.”
She claimed the death would probably not have occurred if she was able to raise his bail sum earlier.
“We had to pay RM8,000 to bail him out, but I could only manage to accumulate half the amount.
“If I could have raised the full amount sooner, perhaps I could have saved him,” she said at a press conference called by Ramasamy at the Seberang Jaya Hospital yesterday.
Agin Raj was arrested twice prior to this, between 2010 and 2012, over drug-related offences. However, Ramasamy, who is also Prai assemblyman, said his death was suspicious.
Seberang Prai Tengah deputy district police chief Supt Baharom Abu, however, denied police had beaten Agin Raj while he was under their watch.
“Our men did not beat him up as alleged by his family members,” Baharom said, adding that the injuries sustained by Agin Raj could have been sustained prior to his arrest.
The latest incident is among a list of alleged custodial deaths this year.
On February 10, A. Punniyanathan, 40, died while in custody at the Nibong Tebal lock-up. While Ramasamy Nagu, 50, died at the Bayan Baru lock-up on March 1.
On March 8, Kamarulnizam Ismail, 39, died in Tapah Prison just a day after he was brought there from the Bukit Mertajam lock-up.
On April 6, Koay Soon Guan, 41, was found dead at the Penang Prison.
On April 15, Ramasamy also highlighted on the alleged custodial death of odd-job labourer M. Murugan, 37 while under custody on April 12.
He had then asked for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission to be set up to investigate the deaths.