KUALA LUMPUR: Home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail says he will personally hand over RM20,000 in compensation to the family of a prisoner who was wrongly notified of their son’s death and almost cremated the body of his cellmate.
Saifuddin made the pledge to M Kula Segaran (PH-Ipoh Barat) after the latter asked whether the home ministry would compensate the family as they had spent RM20,000 on funeral expenses.
“I will pay the compensation myself, and I can do that tomorrow. This is not fair to them as it was not their son who died,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.
“They might have been a poor family and RM20,000 is a huge amount for them. Therefore I will settle this in less than 48 hours,” said Saifuddin, who later asked Kula to inform the family.
The New Straits Times (NST) reported on Sunday that a family in Negeri Sembilan was shocked to find out that their son, who prison authorities said had died while in custody at the Sungai Buloh prison on Feb 28, was still alive.
The family said they received a phone call from the prisons department stating that their son, whom they thought was dead and was about to be cremated, was actually still in the department’s custody.
In the NST report, the family said they had forked out around RM20,000 to rent a tent, cater food as well as to pay for the cremation costs before getting a call from the prisons department shortly before the cremation.
Admitting that there were “elements of negligence and weaknesses” which might have caused a mix-up during the identification process after the post-mortem, Saifuddin said a committee would be formed to investigate the incident.
“We will always take steps to improve. We are open to exploring other ideas if the existing system’s identification process is found to be lacking,” he said.
Kula, who has met both families involved in the incident, welcomed the formation of the committee and suggested that it should function independently and include members of the public.
Kula had previously called on the government to conduct an independent investigation into the incident, adding that prison officers should be held accountable as their carelessness had caused emotional stress for the two families involved.
He also called for an investigation into the death of the inmate and questioned how the mix-up could have occurred as all inmates were assigned their own identification numbers.
We are live on Telegram, subscribe here for breaking news and the latest announcements.