Kuala Lumpur: The police officials involved in the custodial death of a 32-year-old ethnic Indian man here will be suspended from active duty, Malaysia`s Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Monday.
"It is in the process," he said when asked about demands for the suspension of the officers who were on duty when N Dharmendran died on May 21.
He said his ministry and the police would not compromise on any cases where individuals died while in police detention, as media reports said eight people had died in police custody this year.
Dhamendran died while he was detained at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters. He had complained of chest pain and was sent to a city hospital but died on arrival.
His wife M Marry, 26, had accused the police of delaying investigations and harassing her family.
"We have a post-mortem report from forensic expert which stated that the cause of my husband`s death was multiple blunt force trauma. Why are they still calling up my family and even my lawyer? They haven`t even arrested a single cop responsible," she was quoted by media reports as saying.
Malaysia`s 29 million people comprises eight per cent ethnic Indians.
Meanwhile, some ethnic Indian-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the strategic director of Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), S Vell Paari, are considering a protest against the deaths in police custody.
Vell Paari said there had been tremendous response from the ethnic Indian organisations to a call for a national protest over the issue.
There have been eight deaths in police custody this year, including the latest case of 42-year-old P Karuna Nithi at the Tampin police station last Saturday.
Two other recent deaths include Dharmendra, who died in Kuala Lumpur on May 21, while R James Ramesh, 40, who died in Penang on May 26, Star newspaper said.
"Custodial deaths are becoming rampant and require drastic action. If we can hold rallies for political, religious and racial reasons, there is no reason why we can`t have one for this," Vell Paari said, adding that he was disappointed with the authorities for their lack of action.
The leader of Malaysia`s largest ethnic Indian-based political party said a meeting of various Indian organisations and politicians from the Opposition would be called soon.
"Political differences must be set aside for this issue. This is also not a racial matter. It is a Malaysian issue and Malaysians of all races must come together.
"We must send a strong message to the authorities that we do not condone such violence," he said.