Articles, Opinions & Views: No end to state-sanctioned killings in prisons - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Death or Glory
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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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No end to state-sanctioned killings in prisons - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, June 11, 2018
Malaysiakini : "We are unanimous, we are not with you." - Justice Md Raus Shariff
COMMENT | The quote that begins this piece is courtesy of the Federal Court which rejected the appeal of P Uthayakumar who sought to compel the federal government under the Najib regime to establish a royal commission of inquiry into prison reforms. In an interview with Uthayakumar last year, I opined that such a move was a 'Hail Mary' but this did not deter him. If you ever wonder why criminals never reform in this country, all you have to do is read my interview with Uthayakumar and understand that the system is predicated on turning flawed people into damaged ones - “I look around and see so many people who go back to crime because this atmosphere encourages them to embrace the life they left behind outside prison instead of channelling their energies to something useful.”
Kudos to PKR’s Women vice-chief Sivamalar Genapathy and (as usual) Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) executive director Eric Paulsen for highlighting the Mariappan Manivannan case, which is merely a continuation of state-sanctioned murder in prison, detention camps and sometimes even “drug rehabilitation centres” in Malaysia. The Mariappan case is harrowing in its banality. Just last year, G Ganeshwaran died while in custody and as usual his symptoms were as familiar as Mariappan's as with most deaths in custody.
In Ganeshwaran’s case, his slow death happened after he was interrogated by the state security apparatus, and as told by Klang MP Charles Santiago, the victim's mother related to him that, "During a brief chat, Ganeshwaran told her he was kicked in the throat... and refrained from eating for two days as he could not swallow food. She told me Ganeshwaran had blood in his mouth and lost consciousness while talking to her."
We often talk of how the political elites get away with murder. How many people care what happens to inmates in prisons? How many people pay attention to the way the state operates against people who are deemed by society as criminals or suspected as criminals? Make no mistake. As usual, in this country, race, religion and other economic and social dynamics play into this whole sordid mess. Sometimes in my darker moods, I wish those fat cat politicians who allegedly steal billions of ringgit from our coffers are exposed to the same treatment as the countless nobodies who are killed, tortured and abused in our jails.
You want to witness real corruption? Look no further than our prison system, where with the right connections and money, you could lead a life which is half way decent or more. You want to understand real abuse of power? Look at our prison system, where sadistic men and women exercise power over those they think that society has abandoned. You want to see a petri dish of diseases and how a person can slowly waste away and all the while uncaring officers do not bother looking away but sometimes take gleeful pride in this misery, look at our prison system. Is it any wonder that there is very little reforming, but rather the hardening of the human soul that eventually makes any inhumane act permissible, so long as you get away with it? This is what prisoners learn in prison.
These 'murderers' understand that their crimes will never get the attention like those crimes the political elite get. They understand that they can commit the most debased of acts, torture people who sometimes are not even acknowledged by the state, take out their frustrations on inmates with impunity, and then they can go home and pretend to have a normal life. They know this because, unless some nosy civil society groups make some noise, nobody cares what happens behind the wall of our prisons. Nobody cares about the drugs, money and the profiteers of human debasement that is our prison system.
RCI on prison reforms
I interviewed one drug dealer who made more money in prison than he did when he was on the outside. I know of one prisoner guard who was obviously suffering from some sort of mental disorder, who delighted in the punishment he meted out to prisoners all under the guise of religious enlightenment.
And what kills me is that this is the kind of reforms that could be easily done. Of course, digging into the situation in our prison system will reveal how corrupt the system is in a way the 1MDB issue could never do. We are talking about the intersection between political power, criminal enterprise and a public who really do not care that criminals are mass produced in our penal system.
Remember the former Court of Appeal judge, Mohd Noor Abdullah, who said that conditions in prison should be made worse, “making it infested with rats, cockroaches and mosquitoes as a form of deterrence.” I bet that when you think of rapists and child molesters, you would not disagree with this judge, right?
Nobody really thinks that what the corrupt wardens and their officers are doing is what contributes to crime in Malaysia. Nobody ever considers that when we treat prisoners, who are already paying for their crimes in an inhumane way, we are merely creating more monsters who roam our green and pleasant land.
Every time a state security personnel gets away with murder, it tells every other corrupt personnel that what they are doing is acceptable. Indeed, one cop told me that compared to some others, he is an angel. What does this tell you about the society we are living in? Some people do not waste much time and energy on prisoners because they believe these people deserve what they get.
What does this kind of thinking tell the state security personnel who are there to reform prisoners, but instead commit crimes? What does it say about politicians who go on about reforming the system but who turn a blind eye to this subject because they feel it brings them no political capital?
News flash - most times, the issue that bring no political capital are the ones which are the most damaging to society. When the state security personnel think they can get away with murder because those killed are rejected by society, they will continue destroying the apparatus from within.
Murder and corruption is endemic in our prison system. Criminal enterprises and allegiances are made in our prison system, all under the watchful gaze of corrupt men and women. You may not care about the people who are killed or tortured, but you better care that our prison system is creating people who are a danger to society. You better care that because nobody holds murderers and sadists accountable for their actions, sooner or later their actions will be visited on the general populace.
The Pakatan Harapan government should convene a royal commission on prison reforms and soon, because if they do not they are complicit for further deaths in custody, not to mention a system of corruption that is far more damaging than the one they are obsessed with now.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:18 PM  

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