Suhakam to probe shooting deaths of trio, ‘disappearance’ of woman

Suhakam commissioner Gerald Joseph (fourth from right) receives a report on the shooting incident from lawyer Sivahnanthan Ragava.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today said it will investigate the deaths of three men and the alleged disappearance of a woman involved in a shootout with police in Batu Arang, Selangor, on Saturday.

Suhakam agreed that there were questions that needed to be answered after it received information from the families of the deceased.

“Our concern is whether there was abuse of power by the police. Suhakam will investigate the shooting and also the missing person,” said commissioner Gerald Joseph.

It was reported that the police had ordered a car carrying the three men – Sri Lankan national Janarthanan Vijayaratnam, his brother-in-law Thavaselvan and Maghendran Santhirasegaran – to pull over at Bandar Country Homes, but they ignored the order, sparking a 7km chase.

The police said the men were robbers and had opened fire on the officers during the chase, forcing them to return fire, killing all three.

Family members said Janarthanan’s wife, Moganambal Govindasamy, was also present during the incident. However, Selangor police chief Noor Azam Jamaluddin denied this, saying there were only three men and no woman in the car.

Joseph said the families claimed the men were not criminals “but only the police will know”.

“We hope the police can speed up their investigations and the families can be informed of the results,” he said after receiving a report from the family members through their lawyer, Sivahnanthan Ragava.

Joseph said if Moganambal was in the car and still alive, “then the police should find her as soon as possible”.

He said Suhakam would meet with Selangor police and also obtain feedback from the investigating officer at Bukit Country Homes.

“We will also interview the forensic doctors who performed the post-mortems. The families should be allowed access to the full report,” he said.

Sivahnanthan said the families wanted to hear the truth as “many doubts have arisen on the issue”.

He asked how police could say the three men were responsible for a string of robberies here, beginning in May.

He said Janarthanan and Moganambal were permanent residents in the United Kingdom and had arrived in Malaysia for a holiday with their family last month.

“Their family is quite wealthy in the UK,” he said.

Sivahnanthan also said Moganambal had told her sister her whereabouts at 1.38am before she went missing.

He said the initial report the family received from the hospital contradicted the information the police had provided them.

“We want the inspector-general of police and the Selangor police chief to give us a better explanation,” he said.