Monday, August 21, 2017


See earlier post:-

Ayer Molek lockup condition - Let the Home Minister and IGP spend a couple of nights there for speedy reform?





KUALA LUMPUR    (16 AUGUST 2017)               -           The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) visited the Ayer Molek Police Lock Up in Johor Bahru on 31 July 2017 pursuant to its legislated mandate for an independent and objective scrutiny of the conditions and human rights situation of the lock up, particularly on several critical issues such as healthcare practices.

The Ayer Molek Police Lock Up is a former prison that was converted into a temporary police lock up on 8 January 2009.  It has a maximum capacity of 180 detainees. SUHAKAM visited all cells and observed that the conditions were extremely poor, with decaying flooring and dilapidation in most cells. While detainees were not necessarily subjected to overcrowding, the cells were small, without adequate lighting and ventilation or bedding. It is SUHAKAM’s observation that the detainees were held in conditions hazardous to their health and wellbeing.

SUHAKAM is extremely concerned to learn that drinking water was only provided three times a day. SUHAKAM emphasizes that having access to safe drinking water is central to living a life in dignity; and in accordance with Rule 20(2) of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, drinking water shall be available to every prisoner whenever he needs it. While detainees are entitled to clothing that is clean, there was also an overall shortage of clean lock up clothes.

SUHAKAM finds it unacceptable that the daily food budget for detainees is RM 8 for three meals per detainee. Even the lock up staff acknowledge that this amount does not allow for sufficient portions that are nutritionally balanced and adequate according to the diet prescribed by the Ministry of Health. During the visit, SUHAKAM received complaints regarding the quantity and quality of food that was provided. SUHAKAM stresses that there is an urgent need to undertake a review of the budget allocation for food and potable drinking water for detainees throughout the country, as we believe that similar circumstances exist in other lock ups nationwide. Given the numbers of persons in detention, the allocated national budget for this population must be revisited.

SUHAKAM is also troubled with the absence of a custodial medical team and medical officer as stipulated under the Lock Rules 1953 to provide immediate medical care to detainees despite our repeated and numerous recommendations. Overcrowding, inadequate access to healthcare services, poor nutrition, hygiene and sanitation are not only violations of human rights, but these conditions increase the risk of the spread diseases such as tuberculosis within the lock up. 

SUHAKAM empathizes with lock up officers who have to purchase face masks and gloves on their own to protect themselves against tuberculosis and other transmission of diseases. 

SUHAKAM was informed that there were cases of police officers stationed at the lock up who had contracted tuberculosis from sick detainees.

SUHAKAM observes that the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules) which is a soft law instrument that contains provisions protecting the human rights and personal liberties of detainees are not being fully complied with. 

 SUHAKAM emphasises that lock up management must ensure that the detainee’s unconvicted status is demonstrated in their treatment and calls on the Ministry of Home Affairs to take immediate steps to remedy the deplorable and inhumane conditions endured by persons who are on remand and not yet charged.

SUHAKAM is of the view that the conditions are so poor that they amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and reiterates that treating persons deprived of their liberty with humanity and respect for their dignity is a basic and universally applicable tenet; the applicability of which cannot be dependent on budget or financial resources of a lock up. If acceptable standards in detention cannot be maintained, the Ayer Molek and other lock up’s in similar conditions must be closed.


Tan Sri Razali Ismail
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)

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