MP wants independent probe on self-immolation bid in police station

Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran called for an independent investigation into the suicide bid of a man while under police custody in the Jelapang police compound. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran called for an independent investigation into the suicide bid of a man while under police custody in the Jelapang police compound. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — A man’s alleged suicide bid by setting himself on fire inside a Perak police station must be investigated independently and not by the police, said DAP MP M. Kulasegaran today.

Kulasegaran, who is also the lawyer for the man’s family, said the incident today involving 47-year-old security guard Baskar Rao is deemed to have been while he was in “police custody” as he was handcuffed then.

Kulasegaran said it would be “unfair and unreasonable” for the police to investigate their own personnel for the police’s alleged wrongdoing.

“Ridiculous as it may sound, the general rule is the police will investigate the wrongs done by the police themselves.

“I urge the home minister to order an independent task force and inquiry to ascertain as to how Baskar set fire to himself in the Jelapang police compound.

“I am sure the police CCTV was functioning at the material time which will provide much of the required information,” the DAP national vice chairman said in a statement today.

Stressing that the police force should not be investigating itself, Kulasegaran said this was why the long-proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) was needed.

He also said he wanted the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to investigate Baskar’s case.

“Yes, we will be referring to them,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted this afternoon.

When relating the incident that happened in his Ipoh Barat constituency, Kulasegaran said Baskar had early this morning went to the Jelapang police station to lodge a police report on a break-in where he was working as a security guard.

But the police allegedly refused to accept his police report and handcuffed Baskar after a tussle.

“But in the process, somehow due to the police, Baskar apparently decided to commit suicide and he lighted fire when he had some ‘substance’ all over his body which caught fire. In the process, he was severely burnt, all this took place about 1-2am this morning in the Jelapang police compound,” he said.

Kulasegaran said Baskar has since then been admitted to Ipoh’s Raja Permaisuri Bainun General Hospital and that the family has been allowed visitation.

“We are given to understand by Baskar’s relatives the police are guarding round the clock in Ipoh Hospital. Apparently, he has suffered 90 per cent burns and fighting for his life,” he said.

Baskar’s relative R. Adhi Lakshmi P Rajagopal, 54, has filed a police report on the incident which is being probed by a police officer identified as Insp Firdaus.

“The police department owes an explanation as to what actually happened and will the irresponsible police officers be haul up?” he asked.

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