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'Over-crowded' Henry Gurney Keningau hit by scabies, claims activist

By Pluto James

KOTA KINABALU: The Henry Gurney  correctional school in Keningau has suffered an outbreak of scabies - as serious skin infection, a Sabah-based human rights activist claimed Monday.

Most of the juvenile delinquents in the school are suffering from scabies so much so the clothing of the scabies-infected inmates have to be washed in boiling water every three day, in an effort to stem the spread of the skin disease.

Kanul Gindol (photo), who is also a political activist said he had also received reports that for a long time now, there is not enough clean water made available to the juveniles so much so that their health has been compromised.

Gindol, chairman of Borneo Rights International claimed he had learnt about this while attending a Suhakam round-table discussion on Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment here Monday.

“Someone in the discussion told us of such dire conditions in the correctional school,” he said in a statement.

"Suhakam (the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) and the state health authority must look immediately into the plight of the inmates of the school.

Gindol reminded those concerned that the Henry Gurney school is meant to rehabilitate the young delinquents, and they are to be treated as human beings, and not left there incarcerated without basic hygienic provisions.

“My friends and myself are appalled and disturbed on hearing that the school authority has to put the clothing of the "scabies" infected inmates in a boiling water every three day, in an effort to stem the spread of the "scabies",” he said.

He went on to lament that the Henry Gurney school in Keningau is also extremely crowded.

“It is meant for 75 inmates but as of yesterday there were 217 youths there. You could imagine the crowded and compromised situation there, especially without water supply.

“It is no wonder that in October 2013, 13 inmates forced themselves to escape from the "school,” he added.

Gindol contended that the Federal Government should consider building more modern and human-friendly Henry Gurney schools.

“It should also build one in Sarawak as 63 of the 217 juvenile delinquents in Keningau now are from neighbouring Sarawak.

“For a quick solution to the water problem, may i suggest the school be immediately supplied with a good water-pump. This will fix the problem as the school is situated quite on a hill,” he suggested.

Gindol was an independent candidate for the parliamentary constituency of Kota Belud in the last general election.

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