Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 28.6.1983 at 12 noon.
Call on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa Hitam, to order an immediate halt to the inhuman treatment, brutalities and physical violence in the Tampin Drug Rehabilitation Centre
Ever since the start of the Pusat Seranti in Tampin in April this year as a ‘one- stop’ drug rehabilitation centre, I have been receiving complaints from parents of most unusual and brutal treatment of the inmates.
Two weeks ago, I called a press conference in connection with a 18- year-old shop-assistant from Malacca, Ng Yong Sin, who had to spend one night at the Pusat Seranti in Tampin where he was sent there by the Police for urine test. Before he was discharged the next day after some 20 hours at the Pusat when the urine test proved negative, he was subjected to beatings and ill- treatments which Ng would take a long time to recover from especially the psychological aspect. When Ng was being eaten up when he denied being a drug addict, he was told by a Pusat personnel that he would suffer the same consequences as other inmates, who were blue- black all over the body.
I am calling this press conference to publicly release the accounts of the terrible conditions in Pusat Seranti by two escapees, Chang Wai Che and Abdul Rahid bin Hj. Aliman, explaining why they took such great risks attempt escape from the Centre. Chang’s father, Chang Yooi Chee, 59, saw me in Malacca yesterday about his son’s case, and why his son escaped from the Centre.
I had advised Chang Yooi Chee that his son should surrender himself to the Police, as being a fugitive is no solution to his problem. I had also arranged for Chang Wai and another escapee, Abdul Rashid bin Hj. Aliman, to make a full account of the conditions in Pusat Seranti, in the presence of Sdr. K.C. Cheah, who is a Malayan Bar official and one of the DAP lawyers, Sdr. Chian Heng Kai, DAP National Organising Secretary and Sdr. N. Madhavan Nair, Secretary to Parliamentary Opposition Leader, so that the Government and the Public know the terrible conditions in the Pusat.
Chang and Rashid’s complaints are a hair- raising account of ‘hell on earth’ in Tampin Rehabilitation Centre, where what is going on is clearly not rehabilitation but torture.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa Hitam, should order an immediate halt to such inhuman treatment, brutalities and physical violence in the Pusat Seranti, Tampin, for this is clearly no way to rehabilitate drug addicts. While imposing discipline in the Pusat is correct, to use it as an excuse to inflict violence and torture is clearly outside the bounds of human treatment of addicts.
Datuk Musa Hitam must listen to the cries not only of the inmates themselves, but also of their parents and family members, who bleed even more at such inhumanity in the Pusat.
The failure of the Pusat Seranti as a Drug Rehabilitation Centre is clearly shown by the fact that the escapees are prepared to be sent anywhere else, including the prison, except the Pusat Serantai in Tampin.
I support the idea of drug rehabilitation centres, where drug addicts are brought back to society as useful citizens. Drug addicts will have to go through a painful process, including the Cold Turkey treatment and other withdrawal agonies. They need guidance and help by people who are medically and psychologically qualified to help such sick members of our society. They do not need brutal treatment subjecting them to constant violence and indignity. I am sending a copy of the complaints by Chang and Rashid to Datuk Musa, and will seek an urgent meeting with him, and assurance from the authorities that the escapees could surrender themselves without being sent back to Tampin Centre.