GEORGE TOWN: A human rights activist has alleged that Malaysian police lack the diligence to pursue cases of abduction to their resolution.
Perpetrators could walk away with impunity, said Rama Ramanathan of Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (Caged).
He said he was not surprised that an Australian legislator had complained of “apathy” and “incompetence” in describing the response of Malaysian police to the case of a missing grandmother from Adelaide who was later found dead.
Rama said even the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) had found the police to be “lackadaisical” in looking into cases of missing persons.
He said Suhakam had also found that police officers had given false evidence during some hearings in cases of suspected abduction.
Two years ago, Suhakam completed a report on police transgressions with regard to missing persons. Rama lamented that the government’s promise to release its own task force report into Suhakam’s findings was still nowhere to be seen.
He urged foreign governments to advise their nationals about the situation in Malaysia, noting that there was still no news about missing Malaysians such as pastor Raymond Koh and Muslim social activist Amri Che Mat.
Australian Annapuranee Jenkins, 65, disappeared in 2017 after alighting from an Uber ride in Penang. Her remains were found last year at a construction site. Her family claimed police were not interested in looking for her.
Frank Pangallo, a South Australian legislator, used the words “apathy” and “incompetence” against Malaysian police in moving a motion in the state’s parliament to urge the Australian government to intervene in the matter.
“Her grieving family has been forced to go beyond what any family should have to endure because nobody seems to care, along with the incompetent and woeful investigation – if you could call it that – by police in George Town,” he said.
“Anna’s son and daughter have had to become homicide detectives themselves in uncovering some important clues, including the discovery of human remains and some of their mother’s personal possessions.”
Rama said Caged sympathised with the Jenkins family and understood Pangallo’s call.
He said the case was further proof that a truly independent police complaints and misconduct body was needed.
“However, the government is now proposing the so-called Independent Police Conduct Commission, which is nothing more than a cosmetics kit to cover up the failings of the Malaysian police,” he said.
The Jenkins’ family lawyer, Raveentharan Subramaniam, told FMT he wrote early this year to the prosecutor’s office asking for an inquest but had yet to hear from it.
“The prosecutors’ office only acknowledged receiving my letter. My letters to the police were also not entertained.
“A coroner must preside over this case since a so-called autopsy report showed Jenkins died due to sudden death. We want to know how this was determined,” he said.
Khalid Ismath of a group called Edict (Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together) has urged the attorney-general to order an inquest into Jenkins’ death.
FMT has contacted Penang police for comment.