Suhakam to probe Juru detention centre abuse claim

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KUALA LUMPUR: Describing reports of alleged torture and deaths at the immigration detention centre in Juru, Penang, as “awful and an embarrassment to the government”, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today it will investigate the matter.

“Yes, we will investigate. It is our mandate,” said Suhakam Chairman Razali Ibrahim.

He was asked to comment on the claim by two Cambodian women, who were held there, that officials abused them and beat other female inmates to death.

Razali said the alleged incident was a disservice to society.

“I am not pointing fingers at the government, but let’s see how we can prevent another inmate from becoming a casualty,” he said on the sidelines of the Civil Society Conference on National Security here on Wednesday.

The alleged abuses were highlighted by Cambodian labour rights group Central in a news report in the Cambodia Daily newspaper.

The duo, repatriated to Cambodia in June by Central which paid for their flights home, spoke of the alleged abuses and deaths at the Juru detention centre.

It has since been reported that the Cambodian Foreign Affairs Ministry had refuted the claims of the two women, and that only two out of 33 Cambodians remained at the detention centre.

Cambodia stopped sending its nationals to work as maids in Malaysia in 2011 after claims of alleged abuse by Malaysian employers and recruitment agents.

However, in June this year, Cambodia offered to once again send domestic maids to Malaysia, with Prime Minister Najib Razak then saying that Malaysia had accepted the offer.