There have been 10 cases of custodial deaths reported from Jan 1 to Sept 30 this year - averaging one case a month.

According to Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin, an inquest has been ordered for one case, while the remaining nine cases are still under investigations as police are awaiting post-mortem reports.

The New Straits Times (NST) quoted Hamzah telling the Dewan Rakyat in a written reply that the custodial deaths involved four Malays (four men, one woman), two Chinese, and two Indians, while the racial particulars of the tenth dead person is unknown.

"Based on the statistics, there is no racial discrimination on persons under police detention," he said.

According to him further, there were 13 cases of death in police custody recorded throughout last year.

Of these, seven investigation papers have been opened - of which three have been marked no-further action (NFA), and four others are undergoing inquests. The remaining six cases are still being probed.

Speaking to reporters at a function later, Hamzah also said that the police will set up a special unit to probe cases of custodial deaths.

The unit, called The Criminal Investigation Unit on Deaths in Custody, will begin operations on Jan 1, 2022, and will be staffed by 12 police personnel, and a civilian.

Hamzah hopes that the unit will enhance the police force's image and integrity in resolving custodial death issues.

The minister reiterated that there were no racial elements involved in custodial deaths, as the majority of the 82 lock-up deaths that have been recorded to date since 2015, involved Malays, with 42 cases.

This was followed by Indians (15 cases), Chinese (13), and 12 foreigners.

Such deaths were "inevitable", Hamzah claimed, as the detainees had underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure or other health conditions when they were under custody.

Source: NST
Photo source: Astro Awani