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PSM women hit, told to drink toilet bowl water, change clothes in front of men

Written by  Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Parti Sosialis Malaysia, picked on by the authorities and accused of 'rekindling' Communism, has made startling revelations. 14 of its women members detained in a recent crackdown have been "kicked on the legs", "pushed and spat on", told to drink water from the toilet bowl and forced to change clothes in front of male officers.

The women were part of a group of 30 PSM members, including Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, who were arrested at the Sungai Dua toll plaza in Penang. They had been travelling in a bus and were part of a roadshow and leafleting campaign for the July 9 Bersih Rally for free and fair elections.

Since then the group has been controversially remanded for 7 days, separated and sent to three police lockups at Kepala Batas, Penang and Sungai Dua.

Too little, too late

Amid huge public outcry, the federal government has allowed the High Court to hear on Wednesday an application for the revision of the remand order. But it maybe too little and too late.

Outraged colleagues and family members of the detainees initially denied visitation rights have decided to blow the whistle on the alleged misconduct of the Malaysian police, who have from Day One been accused of bullying the motley group of mostly lower-income ethnic Indians.

PSM central committee member V Selvam was reported as telling Malaysiakini that one woman detainee had been “pushed and spat on”, while another, G Pakialetchumy, was “kicked on the legs”. Detainee P Jody, who asked for drinking water, was even told to drink from the toilet bowl.

"When a detainee asked for drinking water to take pills for diabetes, she was given syrup water. When the women were told to change into lock-up clothes, male officers were in front of them,” Selvam said.

"That is why we became suspicious when the police denied the families their visitation rights yesterday although they were told on Monday that they would be allowed in."

PSM has lodged a police report in Kepala Batas on the various complaints received.

Najib must explain and apologise

Meanwhile, Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael and two others have been taken to the Penang Hospital for suspected dehydration and diabetes.

"We took Dr Jeyakumar along to the hospital at about 2pm and brought him back to the state police contingent headquarters an hour later," Star reported Penang police chief Ayub Yaakob as saying on Tuesday.

"We wanted to ensure that the medicine was suitable for Dr Jeyakumar's consumption. At the same time, we also sought the doctors' advice on his health condition

But the police efforts to calm the relatives of the PSM members failed to convince many Malaysians, who are demanding the immediate release of the detainees and a full explanation and apology from Prime Minister Najib Razak and his government.

Even now, the police are tryining to brazen out from the situation of their own creation. On Sunday, Penang deputy police chief Abdul Rahim Jaafar announced that the group were "waging war" against the King.

"They were carrrying items inciting the people to hate the government. This is serious and can threaten national security. "They include flyers and t-shirts with Chin Peng, Rashid Maidin and Suriani Abdullah - all connected to MCP - written on them," Abdul Rahim said.

Charade continues

On Tuesday, in Kuala Lumpur, CID director Bakri Zinin continued the charade.

He said police were looking at several angles in their investigation into PSM. The case is being investigated under Section 122 of the Penal Code which relates to the collecting of men, arms or ammunition with the intention of waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a Ruler or Yang Dipertua Negri.

"They had made much preparation, such as distributing leaflets and wearing T-shirts propagating the ideology with the aim of inciting the people to hate the government," Bernama reported Bakri as saying.

The PSM is a grassroots party built on a socialist platform and focuses on the marginalized and helpless members of the Malaysian community. Like most opposition parties, PSM is not wealthy and Michael is its only elected representative.

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