PETALING JAYA: The Prime Minister’s Department (PMD) disclosed to the Dewan Rakyat that the country recorded 74 custodial deaths in 2023.

Of these, 22 deaths occurred in police facilities, with an additional 12 in detention centres and 10 in lockups.

The Prisons Department reported 11 deaths, including four at Sungai Udang Prison and three at Kluang Prison.

Other facilities such as the Wangsa Maju police district headquarters, Kajang Prison, Perlis Correctional Centre and Tapah Correctional Centre recorded one death case, respectively.

Immigration depots registered the highest number of deaths with 41 cases, involving detainees from various countries including Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, and others.

“Cases comprised 37 males, two females and two children,” the Prime Minister’s Department stated in a written parliamentary reply on July 11.

Causes of death varied and included pneumonia, heart failure and intracranial bleeding, among others.

According to records, 24 deaths occurred at immigration depots and 17 in hospitals.

In response to queries from R. Yuneswaran (PH-Segamat) regarding convictions related to these deaths, the Prime Minister’s Department noted 33 convictions for murder and 18 for causing death unintentionally in 2023.

“Investigating suspicious deaths at enforcement agencies, however, requires cooperation from all quarters to bring justice to all stakeholders in line with domestic and international laws,” it said.

He inquired if the government intends to establish a commission to reinvestigate custodial deaths allegedly caused by enforcement officers.

Regarding further legal developments, the Department announced plans for the Legal Affairs Division to collaborate with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry on the second phase of abolishing the mandatory death penalty.

Discussions will include amendments to Section 97 of the Child Act 2001, allowing courts to impose alternative punishments, including imprisonment, for minors involved in criminal activities.

“Under Section 97 of the Child Act, however, a minor who commits a crime can be detained for life in prison,” it said.

This was in response to Yuneswaran’s question about whether the government is considering abolishing the death penalty for all crimes.