Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, at a Press Conference held at DAP Malacca premises on Wednesday, 5th Oct. 1977 at 10.30 a.m.
Call on Inspector-General of Police to hold a public Inquiry into the shocking case PEE CHING CHOW who was released from Pulau Jerejak on completion of two years’ detention and returned to his Segamat family as a corpse; and Call on public-spirited Malaysians to donate generously for the educational fund of the four Pee children
I call this Press Conference to make public, and to call on the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Haniff Omar, to institute a public inquiry into the shocking case of PEE CHING CHOW, 32, a sub-contractor from 254, Bukit Siput New Village, Segamat, Johore, who was released from Pulau Jerejak on completion of two years’ detention and returned to his waiting family in Bukit Siput, Segamat, as a corpse.
PEE CHING CHOW was arrested by the police sometime in the latter part of 1975 and was detained for three months before sent to Pulau Jerejak for two years. The first two months of the original detention was on grounds of political investigation by the Special Branch, while the third month he was detained under alleged secret society involvement.
PEE’s two year detention in Pulau Jerejak ends on 26th Sept. 1977 and he had written home to his wife and family that he would be released and would be returning home to the family.
On the morning of 26th Sept. 1977, the first word the family had about PEE CHING CHOW was a telephone contact by the Segamat police at about 12.30 mid-day that PEE had been admitted to the Johore Bahru General Hospital. In actual fact, by that time PEE CHING CHOW had already died, for according to Johore Bahru General Hospital records, PEE CHING CHOW died at 10.45 a.m. that morning.
On receipt of this telephone information, PEE’s brother, PEE POI CHAI rushed down to Johore Bahru General Hospital, only to discover, after some searches, his brother’s corpse.
The following is a reconstruction of events which the family has been able to piece together. On Sept. 24 evening, PEE CHING CHOW under the escort of two police constables from Johore Bahru police station, left Pulau Jerejak and spent an evening in Penang. On the morning of 25th Sept. 1977, they took a train and arrived in Johore Bahru on the same night. From all accounts, PEE CHING CHOW was healthy and in good form when he left Pulau Jerejak.
When PEE CHING CHOW arrived in Johore Bahru, he was immediately taken to Johore Bahru General Hospital, and from one account, he arrived at the Johore Bahru General Hospital in a state of unconsciousness.
He died on 26th Sept. 1977 at 10.45, and the cause of death given by the hospital was Diabetic Ketosis – which means too much sugar in the blood so that they turn acid.
The family tells me that PEE has no history of diabetic complaint or other medical ailments before he was sent to Pulau Jerejak. In this letters home from Pulau Jerejak, PEE always tell his wife that he is physically well.
I have consulted my medical friends, who said it is impossible to die of Diabetic Ketosis overnight. It must have been a serious diabetic condition over a prolonged period of time, where medical treatment had been neglected. Before a person dies of Diabetic Ketosis and he must have been physically sick and unwell for quite some time with the following symtoms: weakness, loss of weight, dryness of mouth, general giddiness, inability to sleep, inability to concentrate, and passing a lot of urine.
For two years, PEE was in detention in Pulau Jerejak, and the Pulau Jerejak detention authorities was responsible for his medical welfare. The question that must be answered is whether PEE died because of gross and criminal medical neglect of his health by the Pulau Jerejak authorities, or whether something happened between the trip from Pulau Jerejak to Johore Bahru.
Whatever it is, until the death of PEE, he was still in the official custody of the Police, for he was not to be released until he arrived at the Johore Bahru Station on 26th Sept., where he was arrested initially.
After waiting for two years, the family of PEE never got to see him alive. In fact, the family did not know in 1975 that PEE had sent to Pulau Jerejak until he had already been detained there!
PEE is survived by a 72-year-old mother, Madam Yap Tay, his widow, Madam Law Hwa Kim @ Hau Hwa Kim, 29 and four children, two boys and two girls, PEE Lim PING, 5, girl; PEE LEE HOON,4 ,girl; PEE LIN CHUAN, 3, boy; and PEE LIN SOON, 2, boy.
The youngest boy, PEE LIN SOON, 2, had never seen his father, and will never see his father forever, for when he was born, his father had already been taken away to Pulau Jerejak.
This case has shocked the whole of Bukit Siput and Segamat, and I have no doubt, will shock Malaysians throughout the country. Malaysia is in the 20th Century, in the year 1077, where human lives are precious. But we seem to be getting into a stage where human lives have become very cheap.
This cannot be tolerated, but must be condemned by all Malaysians of all races, who treasure human life and the purpose of a civilized society.
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Haniff Omar, should immediately institute a public inquiry into the mysterious death of PEE CING COW, to let the public know the exact circumstances of PEE CHING CHOW’s death – for otherwise, the police authorities may never be trusted with human lives places under their custody.
I will write to the Inspector-General of Police of this shocking case, and also raise it in Parliament.
In this connection, I want to mention that in anticipation of his release, PEE’s wife had sent about $600 to PEE in Pulau Jerejak for his expenses but on their reclaiming of the corpse, they did not find a single cent.
The mysterious death of PEE CHING CHOW has also created a grave problem of the further livelihood and education of their four tiny children who range from 2 to 5 years old – how they are to get the best education their abilities entitle them to.
I request the Newspapers’ help and co-operation to accept financial donations from public spirited Malaysians for the PEE FAMILY AND CHILDREN, and if necessary, a special trust can be set up for the administration of the donations to provide for the livelihood and education of the PEE CHILDREN.
This will be the immediate way Malaysians of conscience and warm heart can do to express not only their revulsion of the circumstances of the mysterious death of PEE, but also to help four young children, suddenly robbed of their father, a wife ribbed of her husband, and a old mother robbed of his son.