KUALA LUMPUR, 23 March 2009: A total of 2,571 prisoners had died while incarcerated and 153 while in police custody between 1999 and 2008 due to health problems, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar revealed today.
Based on records from the Prisons Department, the numbers included those incarcerated at the prisons, rehabilitation centres and illegal immigrant detention depots (which were still under the department’s management from 2002 to 2007), he said in his written reply to Liew Chin Tong (DAP-Bukit Bendera) in the Dewan Rakyat here.
Syed Hamid said based on reports from the coroners and medical officers, the deaths were due to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, septicaemia, pulmonary tuberculosis, cancer, heart disease, blood disorder and asthma.
“The other causes were suicides and fights among the prisoners or inmates.”
Syed Hamid said of the 2,571 prisoners who died during that period, 2,536 (98.7%) of the deaths happened at the hospitals where the prisoners were being treated, 22 (0.8%) on the way to hospital and 13 (0.5%) at the prisons.
He said based on stipulated procedures, all the deaths were reported to the police and investigated and the inquest conducted before a coroner, as well as made known to the prisoners’ family members. — Bernama