Challenge to Datuk Harris Salleh on the companies I had mentioned in my budget speech in Parliament

Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary–General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, Oct. 27, 1984:

Challenge to Datuk Harris Salleh on the companies I had mentioned in my budget speech in Parliament

On Thursday, the Berjaya MP for Hilir Padas, Mohamed Yusuf Haji Yakob, denied the truth of what I said in Parliament during my budget speech about the companies involving Datuk Harris Salleh, Sabah Chief Minister.

I am not interested in denial by Berjaya ‘small – fries’, for they do not matter at all. I challenge the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris Salleh, to deny what I had said in the Parliament during my budget speech with regard to the four companies where he had remained as director during his tenure as Sabah Chief Minister, which is a gross breach of the Sabah State Constitution, and the fifth company, where I had called on the Anti – Corruption Agency to investigate as to whether there is a conflict of interest.

If Datuk Harris Salleh asserts that what I had said is completely untrue, he should have the courage to challenge me to repeat what I had said in Parliament during my budget speech outside the House. I want to tell Datuk Harris Salleh in advance that I would accept any such challenge, provided he arrange for a public meeting at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur for me to do so.

I had in fact given advance notice to Datuk Harris Salleh that I would be talking about the corruption, abuse of power and breach of trust in Sabah during this Parliamentary session, but Datuk Harris Salleh dare not attend the meeting to listen to my speech.

Letter to Datuk Musa Hitam on eye – witness account of death of Tee Kian Eng after being maltreated and tortured at Pusat Serenti Tampin

I have written to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa Hitam, informing him that Tee Kian Eng, 32, of Malacca, was maltreated and tortured at the Pusat Serenti Tampin in public view of some 30 witnesses until he lost consciousness and subsequently died as a result of such physical violence.

I urged Datuk Musa Hitam that the Pusat Serenti Tampin should be overhauled to ensure that the centre would cease to be a ‘hell on earth’ and become a centre where drug addicts are given a second lease of life to become useful and productive citizens.

In my letter to Datuk Musa, I had written:

“I refer to my earlier letters to you on the death of Tee Kian Eng, 32, of Malacca, who died in the Seremban General Hospital on Sept. 26 at about 6 a.m. after being tortured and maltreated at the Pusat Serenti Tampin the day before.

“A former inmate of Pusat Serenti Tampin, who together with 53 others were released from the Centre on Oct.20, had testidied to the torture and physical violence meted out to Tee Kian Eng and other new inmates on Sept. 25.

“As you already know, Tee Kian Eng was sent to Tampin by his father on Sept. 13 who wanted him to be rehabilitated as a useful and productive citizen. After being sent to be ‘Detox’ Unit, Kian Eng was sent to Melaka Tengah Police Station lock – up on Sept. 19 to await formal commital by the magistrate to the Pusat Serenti Tampin, which was done on Sept. 25.

“Kian Eng was brought back to Pusat Serenti Tampin in the afternoon, and after being cleared by the medical officer, he together with four others, were ‘ sent down the mountain (according to the colloquialism of the inmates to refer to the phase being sent down from Detox unit to the hostel where they are maltreated and physically assaulted.)

“The former inmate said that together with some 20-30 other inmates, who were playing games or doing other chores, they saw what happened to Kian Eng and four others. They were required by over 10 camp personnel to ‘gulung’ on the stony ground for some one hour, and would be roughly struck with thick bamboo sticks on various parts of the body or kicked with high boots if they are slow or unsatisfactory.

“Kian Eng, being more heavily built and more clumsy, suffered more blows and kicks. At the end of the hour – long torture and maltreated, Kian Eng was semi – conscious. He lost consciousness when he was given another standard treatment during the ‘sent down the mountain’ phase, when one of the personnel used a lighter to burn his ‘private hair’.

“Apparently thinking that Kian Eng was pretending to have fainted, he was given several blows on the head. When the personnel realised that that Kian Eng had really collapsed, they then got five inmates to carry him to the Detox from where ambulance was summoned to send him to Tampin General Hospital. The rest is history.

“As Kian Eng’s mistreatment and torture took place in full view of the inmates, this case cannot be covered anymore, and I am writing to you to ensure that Pusat Serenti Tampin is overhauled to ensure that it ceases to be a ‘hell on earth’ and properly become a rehabilitation centre to give drug addicts a second lease of useful life.

“My informant is prepared to reveal his name and identity provided you can guarantee that he would not be victimised.

“According to my inform on June 28 this year, another new inmate was so severely injured during the ‘Sent down the mountain’ phase that he nearly died.

“Since the Tee Kian Eng death, some 70 new inmates had been confined in the Detox units and not a single one had been sent to the hostel, although many of them had been cleared by the medical officer as having been detoxified, and they had been confined at the Detox unit for as long as about two months.

“As the Detox unit is not meant for long – term confinement, this tantamounts to mental torture and cruel confinement, and I hope you could look into this matter to rectify this state of affairs immediately.

“For your information, out of the 11 names I had submitted to you with regard to those who are most guilty of inflicting physical violence on the inmates, several of them are also involved in the case of Tee Kian Eng’s death.

“I am prepared to render whatever other assistance necessary to ensure that the Pusat Serenti Tampin becomes an important element in the anti – drug campaign of the country, for if the ‘hellish’ conditions in the Pusat Serenti Tampin are not checked, public confidence in the government’s anti – drug campaign would be seriously undermined.”