PETALING JAYA (June 7): The family of the late C Sugumar, who died in police custody, has given the government 48 hours to accede to their demands of a second post- mortem by flying in Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand or at the very least removing the court order for a second post-mortem.

PKR vice-president N Surendran said that if the government failed to respond to their demands, the family has no other options but to bury Sugumar’s remains as it has been locked up in the Serdang Hospital morgue for the last 136 days.

“Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) and the Malaysian government have yet to lift the ban on Pornthip, thus denying Sugumar’s family of the services of a pathologist of their choice.

“To make things worse, both Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) and Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) have last week informed the family’s lawyers that they will not conduct a second post-mortem on Sugumar unless a court order is obtained.

“Why ask for a court order when the law does not impose any such requirement in order to conduct a second autopsy? The sudden demand for a court order is clearly intended to delay and frustrate the family from carrying on with the second post-mortem,” Surendran told a press conference at party headquarters today.

PKR vice-president R Sivarasa who was also at the press conference cited the case of A Kugan where a second post-mortem was conducted in UMMC without a court order.

He added that the government’s alleged interference, delaying tactics and broken promises have created an intolerable situation for Sugumar’s family as they were unable to carry out the final religious rites.

“The family remains in a continuing sorry (situation) and in agony. The family has carried on this lonely battle for justice for as long as it is humanely possible. Now they wish to lay Sugumar to rest as soon as possible.

“We therefore call Prime Minister Najib Razak and the government to allow Dr Pornthip to carry out the second post-mortem or withdraw the demand for a court order and allow HKL pathologist Dr Siew or UMMC pathologists to carry out the second post-mortem.

“Should Najib and his government fail to accede to their requests, the family has decided to carry out the last rites and bury Sugumar’s body immediately at the end of the 48-hour period.

“Najib and the BN government must then bear full responsibility for the failure of justice for Sugumar and his family,” said Surendran.

Sugumar’s uncle, A Kuppusamy, 79, voiced out his grief to the press saying that his nephew was “chased around and beaten to death like a dog”.

“As his Uncle I feel great pain, now we will bury the body if they don’t allow the second post-mortem and then let the government face the consequences if government doesn’t allow this,” he shouted.

On Jan 23 this year, Sugumar died in police custody where eyewitnesses reported that he was chased and beaten by the police and the public before he died. Serdang Hospital’s autopsy report stated that he died of a “heart attack”.

The family’s request for a second autopsy since then have hit a wall as the famed Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip was not allowed into the country and the absence of a court order for a second autopsy.
by Azril Annuar