1995 on Tenaganita’s allegations of maltreatment of illegal immigrants


by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, after meeting the Police at Bukit Aman on Saturday, October 7.

1995 on Tenaganita’s allegations of maltreatment of illegal immigrants:

Why is the Home Ministry taking such an inordinately long time to set up a Board of Visitors to investigate into the conditions in the immigration detention camps?

Why is the Home Ministry taking such an inordinately long time to set up a Board of Visitors to investigate into the conditions in the immigration detention camps?

On August 14, Tenaganita director, Irene Fernandez met Superintendent Ahmad Shukor from the Inspector-General of Police’s secretariat on the Tenaganita’s memorandum on ”Abuse, Torture and Deaths of Migrants at Detention Centres”.

On the next day, I raised in Parliament Tenaganita’s memorandum on a motion of urgent, definite public importance and called for an independent, commission of inquiry with non¬-government representatives to investigate into the allegations and to make public the findings.

On 23rd August 1995, together with other MPs from DAP, PBS and PAS, I visited the Semenyih immigration detention camp (where there had been 42 deaths out or a total of 46 for all detention centres), later on the same day., made three proposals to the Deputy Home Minister, namely, an independent inquiry into the 46 deaths,, establishment of an Board or Visitors for the immigration detention centres and the increase in the daily food ration for the detainees.

On 28th August, 1995,I wrote to Megat asking him for arrangements for MPs to visit the Langkap immigration Detention centre, another large detention centre for illegal immigrants.

However, on 30th August 1995, Megat Junid replied stating that such a visit to Langkap centre was not necessary, as the Home Midnistry has decided, with the agreement of the Prime Minister, to set up an independent board of visitors for all the immigration detention centres.

In his letter, Megat said: “Pihak kementerian sedang mengelolakan perkara ini dan keputusan muktamat akan diberitahu dalam masa yang sesingkatnya . Saya berjanji untuk menentukan bahava Jawatankuasa Pelawat Bebas ini benar-nenar dianggotai oleh semua pihak termasukiah ahli-ahli pembangkang dan juga pemimpin NGO. ”

Call on Megat Junid to explain whether there had been any increase of death in the immigration detention camps after the 46 death, and if so , to give details.

Nothing happened for a month until on 27th September, when the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayob announced that former Anti-Corruption Agency director-general, Lan Sri Zulkifli Mahmood haa been appointed chairman of a special visitors’ panel to monitor, study and submit proposals to the Home Ministry to overcome shortcomings in the management of the immigration detention centres.

He said that the names of nine other panel members had been submitted to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed for consideration and the Cabinet’s approval, and would include repersentatives from opposition parties, non-government organisations (NGOs) and professional bodies.

It does not reflect well on the Home Ministry that it is taking such an inordinately long time to constitute the independent board of visitors for the immigration detention centres, especially when there were serious allegations of maltreatment in the detention centres.

In this connection, I call on Megat Junid to explain whether there had been any increase of in the immigration detention camps after the 46 deaths, and if so , to gave details.