Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 24.11.1982:
DAP expresses shock at the reintroduction of leg-irons for prisoners throwing Malaysia back to the ‘stone-age’
I am shocked that the Prisons Department is seriously going ahead with its intention to reintroduce leg-irons for prisoners being taken to court or to hospital. The Director-General of Prisons, Datuk Ibrahim Haji Mohamed, said in Taiping yesterday that prisoners of all categories would have to wear the leg irons expected to be introduced throughout the country by the first week of next month. He justified the reintroduction of the leg-irons, stopped in 1953 when the Prisons Act was enforced, on the ground of escape attempts by prisoners when taken to court or hospital.
This is indeed a retrograde step, throwing Malaysia back to ‘stone-age’. I am even more shocked that such a throw-back to such primitive treatment of prisoners should be taking place under the 2M Government, under which we expect a more liberal and humanitarian treatment of social problems.
The attempted escapes by a few prisoners is no justification for a throw-back to primitive ‘stone-age’ treatment of prisoners, and I call on the Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa Hitam, to intervene and stop the reintroduction of leg-irons for prisoners being taken to court or hospital, for it is most de-humanising in its effect on the prisoners. The Prisons Department should consider ways to tighten its security where prisoners and being taken to court or hospital without re-introducing the primitive method of leg-irons, for by de-humanising the prisoners in re-introducing leg-irons, we are also de-humanising ourselves and the Penal system.