Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - DAP, police spar over allegations of ‘torture’

DAP, police spar over allegations of ‘torture’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Two detainees are escorted to a Perak court last week to be charged over their support for, and possession of materials relating to, defunct Sri Lankan militant group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or the Tamil Tigers. ORIENTAL DAILY NEWS

DAP, police spar over allegations of ‘torture’

Top Malaysian security officials are engaged in an unusual debate with some members of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition government amid claims that police “tortured” 12 men detained over alleged links to a former Sri Lankan militant group.

Harsh words from leaders of PH’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) against the police have raised eyebrows, as the government and the police are supposed to be on the same side.

DAP is one of four parties in the ruling coalition following the ouster of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government last year.

The DAP leaders claim that there is a “deep state” within the civil service that wants to undermine the party, and said none of its members was raising funds to revive the defunct militant group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers, which is banned in Malaysia and 30 other countries.

“A common question that remains unanswered is why action was taken against DAP-elected representatives by the present government for alleged offences committed before 2018 when the previous BN government had not taken similar action against them,” DAP secretary-general and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in a statement last week, after a meeting of all MPs and state lawmakers.

Two DAP state assemblymen for Negeri Sembilan and Melaka were arrested with 10 other ethnic Indians between October 10 and 12 by Malaysia’s anti-terror division.

The police have said that “big amounts” of money were involved “to fund LTTE-related activities” over a few years. Eleven of the men have been charged over their support for and possession of materials relating to the LTTE, while the two charges against a Negeri Sembilan state lawmaker were dropped on Wednesday.

The arrests have raised suspicion in Malaysia that some PH leaders are trying to put DAP on the defensive.

DAP leaders had attacked Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for attending the “racist” Malay Dignity Forum last month, and for harbouring Muslim preacher Zakir Naik, who is wanted in India for terrorism and money laundering charges in Malaysia even though New Delhi wants to question him for his role in Islamist militancy.

Director of Asia Institute Tasmania at the University of Tasmania Professor James Chin, referring to the detained assemblymen, said: “Bottom line is this ... If found guilty, how come DAP did not vet them before selecting them as candidates? If found not guilty, how come DAP cannot prevent the arrest in the first place or even get them free early on?”

US-Chinese probe

DAP leaders have condemned the detentions under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma – the legislation that replaced the Internal Security Act.

The son and daughter-in-law of detainee B Subramaniam have alleged through their lawyer that he was subjected to abuse and threats by the police in jail.

“When we saw him for the first time five days after his arrest on October 10, he was in tears. He said they really threatened him, saying all his five sons and his wife were caught and were in jail,” said daughter-in-law R Thiviya.

National police chief Abdul Hamid Bador and Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin have denied the allegations. “But if they assume getting into lock-up is being tortured, then it is too bad as it is the law,” Abdul Hamid told reporters on Monday in Sabah.

Under Sosma, the authorities are allowed to detain a suspect for 28 days without trial, after the initial 24 hours following an arrest.

An intelligence source told The Straits Times that the authorities use various methods to extract information from suspected militants.

“Our approach is stern but there is no use [in] using physical force when dealing with ideologies, especially when we are trying to extract information, or we would never get anything.

“It also does not make sense to caress their hair and serve nasi lemak [a favourite Malaysian breakfast] to make them talk,” the source said.

THE STRAITS TIMES/ANN

MOST VIEWED

  • Rainsy stopped in Paris from boarding Thai flight

    Airline officials at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday prevented Sam Rainsy from boarding his flight to Bangkok ahead of his announced return to Cambodia on Saturday. Prime Minister Hun Sen had earlier in the day assured Phnom Penh residents that there would be

  • Analyst: Rainsy blocked from boarding flight 'an excuse'

    THAI Airways not allowing Sam Rainsy on its route from Paris to Bangkok on Thursday is being used as an excuse to keep his standing among fellow coup plotters and his uninformed supporters as flights to non-Asean countries are available, an analyst said on Friday.

  • Rainsy lands in Malaysia

    Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport on Saturday afternoon after boarding a flight from Paris, where he has been living for more than four years. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Koy Kuong said on Saturday that Cambodia respected

  • Touch: Rainsy will never return

    Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has claimed it has achieved 70 per cent of its struggle to find a solution to the current political situation in the Kingdom. Just before boarding a plane at Charles de Gaulle

  • Sokha continues call for dropping of charge after bail conditions reduced

    Not satisfied with having his bail conditions reduced, allowing him to travel freely in Cambodia, Kem Sokha says he wants his charge totally dropped. “As an innocent man who has been in detention for two years even without being found guilty, I continue to demand

  • MEPs' call for Rainsy's safety not European Parliament position

    The European Parliament said on Friday that a statement by 56 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) calling for guarantees of Sam Rainsy’s freedom and safety should he return to Cambodia did not represent its position. Delphine Colard, the European Parliament’s press officer told