PUTRAJAYA: Messages in a police WhatsApp chat group show that police officers had not only made fun of S Balamurugan but had also used degrading words a few hours before he died.
The WhatsApp messages of the Klang Utara district police headquarters were revealed during a hearing conducted by the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission.
The messages were exchanged after the remand of the deceased was rejected, as he was unwell, on Feb 7 at the Klang Magistrate’s Court.
Some of the messages of the officers, read during the hearing, were “keling ini macam mana boss, macam nak mampus” (“What should we do with this keling, he looks like he is going to die”), “give him ketum”, “makan sirih” (“give him betel leaves to chew”), “use Cap Kapak on his eyes”, and “give him Carlsberg, confirm ok” .
Lawyer Eric Paulsen asked Klang Criminal Investigation Chief ASP Norsanizam Nordin if these messages were tolerated in the WhatsApp group.
“‘Keling (degatory term for South Indians in Malaysia), ini macam mana boss, macam nak mampus’, is this kind of messages tolerated?
“Some of the messages had emojis of people laughing. He was sick. Was that a time to joke?” asked Paulsen.
Norsanizam replied that such messages were not tolerated.
He said he gave instructions the following day, during a meeting, not to exchange such messages in the WhatsApp group.
“I told them to keep messages serious and report on work.”
About two hours before these messages were exchanged, Balamurugan was in the Klang court where his remand was rejected and where the magistrate told the Klang Utara district police headquarters assistant investigation officer, who was with Balamurugan, to take him to hospital as he looked unwell.
However, Balamurugan was driven to the Klang Utara district police headquarters where he was placed again in a lockup.
EAIC chairman Yaacob Md Sam asked Norsanizam why orders were given for the second arrest of Balamurugan despite a clear instruction from the court to take Balamurugan to hospital.
Norsanizam said the investigating officer in Balamurugan’s case was, in fact, given orders by the senior investigating officer (SIO) to take Balamurugan to hospital.
“Orders were already given. The IO was irresponsible,” he added.
However, Yaacob reminded him that there were also the degrading messages after the SIO gave orders to the IO to take Balamurugan to hospital.
Yaacob, who is heading the hearing, said Norsanizam should have intervened and told the IO to take Balamurugan to hospital.
The investigating officer for Balamurugan, Inspector Mohd Noor Husri Johari, testified on June 5 that his superiors were aware of the detainee’s condition but he was waiting for the CID’s feedback.
Despite receiving instructions from his SIO to take Balamurugan to hospital, he had waited for Norsanizam’s orders. This is because he did not want to be in trouble if Balamurugan died or escaped during the journey to the hospital.
Balamurugan died less than 12 hours after his remand was rejected. He was arrested on Feb 6 at Jalan Batu Belah, Klang, with two others – Tamilasan Karapiah and a juvenile called Ang.
So far, 28 witnesses have been called to testify. The hearing continues tomorrow.