Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 24.11.1982 at 12.30 p.m.
DAP exposes case of one inmate at Kuala Kubu Baru Drug Rehabilitation Centre, Rajah s/o Gengathaaran, 26, who was repeatedly assaulted until he agreed to escape from the centre to get drugs of the ‘MIC’ gang at the centre
Last Wednesday, I called a press conference to tell the story of one Chow Yue Kum, 27, who absconded from the Kuala Kubu Baru Drug Rehabilitation Centre on Nov. 15 because he feared for his life when overheard that he would be sent to the ‘High Court’ that night, where an inmate would be mercilessly assaulted by the Taikos and Seniors of the three ‘illegal’ governments in the centre, self-styled as ‘MCA’ for Chinese inmates, ‘UMNO’ for Malay inmates and ‘MIC’ for Indian inmates.
The officials of the Kuala Kubu Baru Drug Rehabilitation Centre had pretended ignorance of such ‘reign of terror’ over the inmates, who are terrorised by the ‘MCA’, ‘UMNO’ and ‘MIC’ gangsterism in the centre, where the centre officials appeared to have lost control over the inmates.
I have with me another inmate, Rajah s/o Gengathaaran, 26, from Kuala Lumpur, who have a similar story as Chow Yue Kum to tell of the ‘illegal authorities’ terrorising inmates at the centre with complete impunity. In Rajah’s case, he was physically assaulted for several days until he agreed to go on a mission for the ‘MIC’ seniors to escape to Kuala Lumpur to get drugs.
Rajah was kicked by ‘MIC’ seniors on the day he entered the Kuala Kubu Baru Drug Rehabilitation Centre on 23rd August 1982, when the seniors found that Rajah would not finish the rice which they had piled on his plate. They make him jump, shouting ‘Terima Kaseh Aishah Ghani’, and run around the field.
When he was shaved ‘bald’ the next day, he was asked by a senior whether he had ‘money’ to pay for the shave. When Rajah said he had no money, he was told that he had to taken ‘licence’ to shave, and he was given the ‘starlight’ treatment 15 times. ‘Starlight’ is hitting the forehead with a hard flick of the middle finger.
On Sept. 19, Rajah was told by a ‘MIC’ senior to work in the dapor. When Rajah said he would like to ask the officer, Rajah was told that there was no need for him to ask any officer, as this was what the ‘MIC’ seniors wanted him to do. In the dapor, he was made to prepare special food for the seniors, and to double up to serve the seniors with extra tea, Nescafe, etc, and he would be warned if he refused or had something else to do.
One night, one of the seniors took him to the Recreation Room where he saw a syringe and a tube of heroin, plus ganja and a bottle to smoke ganja with. The seniors asked Rajah whether he would like to smoke heroin, and when Rajah said no, as he was at the centre to be rehabilitated and not to become an addict, he was told that this was only once in a way, and not always. They threatened Rajah and forced him to smoke. Rajah had to smoke, and he took two drags of ganja. The seniors wanted him to smoke so that he would not inform on them to the officers. Three days later, he was again taken to the Recreation Room and forced to smoke ganja again.
On 25th Sept. 1982, five of the ‘MIC’ seniors came to him at the dapor. Rajah said that from their looks, he knew they were suffering from ‘Cold Turkey’ effects. They called him aside and told him to go to Kuala Lumpur to buy heroin, ganja and cigarettes for them.
When Rajah refused, he was threatened, and warned that the better ‘watch out’ that night. That night, the seniors took him to the Recreation Room and demanded that he should go to Kuala Lumpur to get drugs for them. When Rajah said that he would be taking a risk, he was told that he would be taking no risk, as they could cover him up from the roll call until he returned to the centre. When he again refused, the seniors took turns to punch him at the chest. Another senior took a stick and beat him on his feet. Up to now, his feet is still swollen.
For the next few days, the ‘MIC’ seniors deliberately found fault with him, and kept on beating him by punching him on the chest, on the ground that he did not respect the seniors. Rajah was told that if he agreed to go to KL to get the drugs, ‘he would be a free man in the centre’ and there would be no beatings anymore. For those few days, Rajah was repeatedly assaulted and tortured, every two or three hours.
On 1st Oct., after 9.30 p.m., three ‘MIC’ seniors again took him to the Recreation Room and told sternly that he had to go to KL next day to get drugs for them, and if not, the seniors would ‘bang’ – ‘assault’ – him and bash him up and throw him outside the fence, and then report to the centre officials that he had escaped, and have him charged in court for escaping from the centre. When he still refused, as he said he wanted to be rehabilitated from the drug, he was told he was ‘keras kepala’, and was again ‘brutally assaulted, and warned that he would get more ‘banging’ if he refused.
Rajah could not stand the ‘banging’ and the threats anymore, and the next day, on 2nd October, he agreed to go to KL to get drugs for the seniors. At about 4.30 p.m., he was accompanied by one senior, and they crawled through the fence at the back of the centre, and taken through rubber estate road of about 1 ½ miles to the mainroad, when the senior told him to go on to wait for a bus to KL. Before he left the centre, he was taken to the Recreation Room where he was given a brown-coloured long pants, blue-coloured shirt, a white pair of shoes, and $3 cash. Four seniors were in the recreation room.
Rajah returned home and discussed his problem with his mother, and he decided not to return to the centre. Two weeks later, he was arrested by the police. He was given a urine test, which was negative. He was charged with escape from the centre and was bound over for a year.
Rajah’s story, corroborating Chow Yue Kum’s story, exposes the ‘reign of terror’ and complete breakdown of authority by the centre officials. There must be a thorough inquiry into the centre, and I call on the Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa Hitam, and the Minister of Welfare Services, Datin Paduka Aishah Ghani, to take a serious view of such atrocious happenings in the centre. We want the Kuala Kubu Baru Drug Rehabilitation Centre to be a centre to reform drug addicts, and not a centre to train them into hardened criminals.