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Hamzah Zainuddin Slammed By Activists Over Insensitive Remark On Detainee Deaths

Hamzah Zainuddin Slammed By Activists Over Insensitive Remark On Detainee Deaths

Critics said Hamzah must study the autopsy reports and the coroner’s findings and not simply brush aside the deaths.

Fernando Fong

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Several human rights activists have slammed Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin’s statement, which was deemed careless on reports of deaths at immigration detention centres.

Speaking in Putrajaya recently, Hamzah downplayed reports of deaths at immigration detention centres by saying the public should not be quick to point fingers at the authorities.

He said it is impossible to predict the future nor foresee if anyone would die while in detention.

Hamzah added that people could even die while walking around.

So if we have arrested a person for parking in the depot and he dies, who do we want to blame? Because people who are dead now, sometimes while walking, they die, they don’t even have to go to the depot to die. So, the issue does not arise.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin’s insensitive remark on prisoner deaths.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin commenting on death in detention. (Video: Malaysia Gazette)

North-South Initiative executive director Adrian Pereira accused the minister of underestimating the tragedy, while Irene Xavier of the Selangor Women’s Friends Association said the reaction was “heartless”.

Pereira said Hamzah should study the autopsy report and the coroner’s findings before dismissing the deaths.

Pereira suggested that it could be time to appoint a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to investigate the alleged abuse at the detention centre.

He should examine whether these detainees are victims of smuggling or trafficking and have access to legal representation in which they are detained.

North-South Initiative executive director Adrian Pereira urging the minister to work with civil society to address the problem.

Alex Ong of Migrant CARE asked whether Hamzah understood the human rights violations against immigration detainees.

Ong questioned if Hamzah understood that it involves human rights issues.

He said the detainees have the right to be treated humanely, and urged Hamzah to visit the immigration centre to see if the detainees were suffering from overcrowding and lack of health care.

Hamzah, a former Umno stalwart before he quit his party and jumped to Bersatu, had also drawn brickbats from people on social media.

At the same time, people also demanded that Hamzah, who is also Bersatu secretary-general, step down from being a minister as he is not fit for the job.

READ MORE: Sungai Bakap Depot Rohingyas Break Out Due To Fear Over Deaths


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