Cops probing mistreatment of activists arrested for picketing outside Ipoh hospital

Perak police chief Datuk Razarudin Husain during a visit to SMJK Sam Tet in Ipoh June 29, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak police chief Datuk Razarudin Husain during a visit to SMJK Sam Tet in Ipoh June 29, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

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IPOH, June 29 — Perak police are investigating the report lodged by five activists, who alleged that they were mistreated by the police during their arrest and detention in lockup. 

The five were arrested and charged with picketing outside Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun (HRPB) earlier this month. 

State police chief Comm Datuk Razarudin Husain said that the investigation is being carried out to find out if the allegations did take place. 

“The investigation has been going on to make sure whether the matter reported had really happened or not...or if there is mistreatment from our side,” he told reporters briefly after visiting SMJK Sam Tet here. 

He added that police will send the investigation papers to the state prosecution unit for suggestion and decision once the investigation is complete. 

Last Monday, the five individuals, together with the National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (NUWHSAS), lodged police reports after alleging that they were wrongfully arrested and mistreated by the police.

The five were NUWHSAS executive secretary M. Sarasvathy, 67, who is also a Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) committee member; NUWHSAS officials L. Danaletchumi, 35 and V. Santhiran, 52; PSM member P. Jody, 61; and PSM activist C. Subramane, 60.

They accused the police of violence and misusing their power during their arrest despite the picketers following all standard operating procedures (SOP) of the movement control order (MCO), including practising social distance, wearing face masks and taking temperature checks during the picket.

They also claimed that police personnel verbally abused them and forced them to strip and wear the lockup attires in front of them. 

On June 2, the five activists together with several other members of NUWHSAS, mostly hospital cleaners, held a protest in front of HRPB here.

The protest aimed to raise attention to the hospital cleaners’ grouses, including the lack of protective gear against the Covid-19 virus.

They claimed that they have been subjected to constant harassment, victimisation and union-busting activities since early this year after making multiple police reports and complaints to the Human Resources Ministry against UEM Edgenta’s subsidiary Edgenta UEMS Sdn Bhd.

They five activists were later arrested by the police for obstructing civil servants from carrying out their duties.

They were released the next day after the Magistrate refused the remand order and instructed police to release all five of them as soon as fingerprints and other records were obtained.

However, the five individuals were charged at the Magistrates’ Court on June 4 for defying the conditional movement control order (CMCO) by gathering in front of HRPB for social purposes, which all of them pleaded not guilty for the offense.

UEM Edgenta Bhd has denied the allegations by NUWHSAS of anti-union tactics and mistreatment of its members.

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