Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Monday, 1.10.1984:
Call on Datuk Musa Hitam to ensure that there is no cover – up in the death of Tee Kian Eng
I am surprised at the outburst of Datuk Musa Hitam, Acting Prime Minister, on Sunday that those who attempt to undermine the government’s efforts to fight the dadah menace as akin to dadah pedlars, when he was asked to comment on the death of Tee Kian Eng who died on Sept. 25 after he was committed to Pusat Serentai Tampin by the magistrates’s court the day before.
I do not know whether Datuk Musa Hitam is suggesting that I am as bad as a drug pedlar, for if so, he should be specific and openly say so, so that I could have the opportunity to get legal redress for defamation of reputation.
I had from the outset declared my support for the government’s anti – drug campaign and the establishment of one – stop drug rehabilitation centres, but clearly we cannot tolerate any brutalities, inhumanities and cruelties or even murder to be perpetrated by the Centre staffs under the guise of drug rehabilitation.
The purpose of exposing the excesses of the Pusat Serenti Tampin is not to force the closure of the centre, but to remove the defects to make it into a centre which will have the full confidence of the people so that the fight against the drug menace could be more effective and positive.
I am very concerned that there appears to be a high – level attempt to ‘cover – up’ the cause of death of Tee Kian Eng.
The Malay Mail on Friday, Sept. 28, quoting clearly inside official sources, reported that Tee Kian Eng could have died as a result of drug overdose. The report carried another important paragraph:
“The sources said the delay in sigining the death certificate by the doctor who conducted the post – mortem was because he could not determine the cause of death.
“Initially, the cause was thought to be cerebral concussion, but it was later discovered this was not the case.”
Yet earlier in the report, the sources said that the cause of death would only b known after the chemist’s report on the stomach content and blood samples had been analysed by the chemist, had been received in a week’s time.
Firstly, is it possible for Tee Kian Eng to die of drug overdose? Tee Kian Eng was sent to the Pusat Serenti Tampin after his father, Mr. Tee Kim Lwi, reported him to the anti – narcotic unit in Pringgit on Sept. 13.
On Sept 19, Kian Eng was taken from Tampin Pusat Serenti to Melaka Tengah police station lock – up until Sept. 25 when he was produced before the magistrate who formally committed him to Pusat Serenti Tampin for rehabilitation. Kian Eng was taken to Tampin Centre later the same day, and was rushed to Tampin and Seremban General condition.
How could Tee Kian Eng die of an overdose of drugs when for 12 days from Sept. 13 to Sept. 25, he was either in the custody of the Pusat Serenti Tampin or the Melaka Tengah police station, for he was never released from custody since Sept. 13.
If Tee Kian Eng died of a drug overdose, it could only mean that all the time he was in custody either at Pusat Serenti Tampin or the Melaka Tengah Police Station, he was continuing to take a heavy dosage. Where did Tee Kian Eng get such heavy drug dosage? If this line of reasoning is pursued, then it would call for a full investigation into Pusat Serenti Tampin and Melaka Tengah Police Station as to how Kian Eng could continue to take drugs!
I have consulted doctors on the cause of death given in the death certificate, namely ‘severe cerebral concussion’, and their view is that it could only come from an external blow.
I am surprised that the ‘sources’ quoted by Malay Mail said that the cause was initially thought to be ‘cerebral concussion’ but it was later discovered this was not the case.
How could this be, when this source said that it would take a week for the chemist report to know the cause of death. What basis has this ‘source’ to rule out death by ‘severe cerebral concussion’? if Kian Eng did not die of ‘severe cerebral concussion’, then the government should consider taking action against the doctor concerned for professional negligence!
The whole Tee Kian Eng affair stinks, for clearly some – one is trying to ‘cover up’ the whole episode. I want to declare that with the death of Tee Kian Eng, it is no more possible for any ‘cover – up’, and there must be the fullest public inquiry into the Tee Kian Eng death.
It is most unfair that Kian Eng had died for no rhyme or reason, and that he should be maligned further by saying that he died of ‘drug overdose’!
I have received information that there are eye – witness’s that Tee Kian Eng was assaulted at the Pusat Serenti Tampin when he was sent there on Sept. 23, by one whose is included in the 11 names which I will be sending to Datuk Musa Hitam as centre staff who are most prone and guilty of brutality, inhumanity and cruelties against new inmates.
The public will now allow the authorities to cover up the Tee Kiam Eng death as it had covered up other complaints of brutalities and inhumanities in the camp previously. If the government is not prepared to order an open probe, or hold an early coroner’s inquiry, we will not rule out a people’s campaign to sue the government over the death of Tee Kian Eng to force open the true facts about the Pusat Serenti Tampin.