KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — There was no racial discrimination against individuals who died in lockups under the custody of Royal Malaysia Police (RMP), said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

He said the matter is proven with the low percentage of deaths at 0.015 per cent out of 63,773 detainees registered from January to September this year or 10 deaths.

The percentage for last year was also low at 0.014 per cent or 13 deaths out of 91,246 detainees in RMP lockups.

“I wish to clarify the matter so that it would not be made another racial issue as raised in the past.

“Our emotions made us get carried away until it became something big in our country,” he said when winding up the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) at Dewan Rakyat today.

He said the Home Ministry (KDN) is now in the process of improving the management of RMP lockups by appointing private clinics so that the level of health of detainees is established before entering the lockup.

Other efforts included the installation of closed- circuit television (CCTV) at all police lockups which is expected to be completed by the end of the year with the project divided into five zones, north, south, east, Sabah and Sarawak, he said.

Hamzah’s reminder that Members of Parliament refrained from making death cases in lockup as a racial issue however sparked off a tense situation when several opposition MPs stood up to intervene, seeking additional time, written answers and further explanation on the issue.

Among those who stood up were P. Kasthuriraani (PH-Batu Kawan), M. Karupaiya (PH-Padang Serai), P. Prabkaran (PH-Batu) and Maria Chin Abdulllah (PH-Petaling Jaya).

The situation caused Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to warn all MPs to adhere and respect the stipulated time.

“The time allocated for (minister’s winding up) is over, understand? This is not the time to debate some more...this is the time for the minister to reply and the minister has replied.

“Honourable Members, I noticed that almost 90 per cent of you do not abide by the standing orders yet I still allow Members to intervene...now the time for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister is not enough, with 10 minutes left. So please follow the rules,” he said.

The first day of 12MP winding up saw 11 ministries completing winding matters raised by MPs during four days of debate while 12 more ministries are scheduled to wind up the debate tomorrow.

The Dewan Rakyat will sit again tomorrow. — Bernama