Cabinet asks AG to consider inquest into Batu Arang shootout

PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet has requested that Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas look into the possibility of holding an inquest into the recent shootout between police and three men in Batu Arang, Selangor.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waytha Moorthy revealed this when contacted by FMT on the issue, in the wake of conflicting versions of the incident.

Waytha said he had raised the issue at the recent Cabinet meeting and that the matter was discussed extensively.

“In the New Malaysia, we cannot expect people to simply accept the old narrative of the police version of what happened when questions are raised.

“I am not accusing anyone of lying, but when there are conflicting stories, it is incumbent on the government to get to the bottom of what really happened,” he said.

The shootout earlier this month occurred when a police patrol 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.

According to police, the men ignored the order, sparking a 7km chase during which they opened fire on the officers, forcing them to return fire. All three men were killed.

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

Police have since said that Thavaselvan and Maghendran were wanted members of the 08 gang in Rawang, while Janarthanan had overstayed his visa.

Waytha said Janarthanan’s father-in-law had disputed the police claim that he overstayed his visa and that Janarthanan had only arrived in Malaysia last month with his children and Moganambal.

“A video featuring Janarthanan’s father-in-law has gone viral and this is causing people to cast doubt on the police’s remarks. This is not good,” he said.

TheSun daily also reported that Janarthanan’s family had produced evidence, including flight tickets, to disprove the police’s claims.

Waytha said after discussing the matter, the Cabinet decided it would ask the AG to look into the possibility of an inquest to determine the truth.

“Prime Minister Tun Mahathir (Mohamad) reiterated that the government is committed to reforms of the police force, transparency and the protection of human rights.

“This isn’t just evident now, but also in the tabling of the Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission bill and the green light given for body cameras for the police,” he said.