P. Uthayakumar will be spending his 52nd birthday in the Kajang prison today.
Uthaya is still in the death row cell.
There is no mattress for him to sleep on, he insists.
What Uthaya is saying contradicts a statement earlier made by the Prisons Department read out on 24 Oct 2013 in Parliament by Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar who asserted that the solitary confinement room does have mattress and blanket.
Uthaya’s open letter to the prime minister was read out by DAP Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo during the debate in the Dewan Rakyat at the same Parliamentary sitting.
In his letter to Najib Razak, Uthaya had complained that he is denied “a toothbrush, toothpaste, bathing and washing soap, towel, blanket, pillow and even the ½ inch foam mattress”.
The Prisons Department however refuted Uthaya’s allegations as well as assured Parliament that their staff had never treated him harshly and that there was “no abuse”.
About that chair (1)
Uthaya says he is not given warm water to wash down his medicine. (He’s diabetic and also has a prolapsed disk which gives him back pain).
As I’ve written before, Uthaya wants a plastic chair so that he can sit. Sitting will help alleviate the painful condition of his back.
Oh well, maybe he can get one (i.e. a plastic chair) for Christmas if we can successfully smuggle out a Dear Santa letter from him to be mailed to the North Pole.
Oooops, I forgot. Unlike Jaclyn Victor (tweet below), Uthaya is not a Christian. So no present from Santa. Sorry, tough luck.
About that chair (2)
‘Prisons Dept denies Uthaya not given proper treatment’ (NST, 29 July 2013)
The New Straits Times July 29 article reported Deputy Director of Prison Policy Supri Hashim as saying Uthaya should not be given special treatment compared to the other prisoners as he was a common convict and not “a political prisoner or political detainee as described by a certain party”.
The “certain party” whom the Deputy Director is referring to is Lim Guan Eng (see TMI below).
About that chair (3)
“The treatment is given to a particular convict based on the advice and recommendation of the medical officer treating the convict and not based on the personal requirement of the convict concerned,” the NST quoted Deputy Director of Prison Policy Supri Hashim as saying in response to Guan Eng in the July 21 TMI report (above).
Again the claim by the prison authorities is in contradiction to the personal testimony of Uthaya who says the prison doctor(s) had agreed to refer him to the hospital.
But then again, prisoners can’t be choosers, right?
Pakatan rode the Makkal Sakti wave to their 2008 victory and after that, sat on the Indians. See also related issue, ‘PSM bullied and backstabbed’.
About that chair (4)
To bring our discussion back to the business of the chair. No, not one resembling Guan Eng’s above. Just an ordinary plastic one will do.
Uthaya is being held in a 10′ x 10′ cell with five other prisoners. And just like how the MCA and Gerakan are two bald men fighting over a comb, you can try to imagine Six Men and One Chair packed in that cramped space.
The death row cell is for hardcore criminals.
The environment inside is tense.
Uthaya fears that he is being deliberately put in harm’s way by being placed there.
Toothbrush is a lethal weapon, what more a chair
According to Uthaya, the prison regulation toothbrush is a finger cap and not the typical one that we use.
There must a security reason as to why prisoners are not issued normal toothbrushes. (Err, he can poke his fellow inmate in the eye with it?)
In the FMT article titled ‘Dark Deepavali for me‘ (1 Nov 2013), Uthaya described an attack perpetrated on one Paramasivam, occurring on Oct 25, which resulted in the 45-year-old prisoner receiving five stitches on his head, four on his eyelid and four on his nose.
Prison is a violent place where prisoners can get knifed. Or beaten, sometimes by the guards as punishment and sometimes by other inmates.
The environment inside is understandably tense particularly among those facing the death penalty or serving a life sentence.
Uthaya fears that he is being deliberately put in harm’s way through his placement in the death row cell.
A safer cell can perhaps accommodate that darn chair?
Yahoo! News had reported on 11 Sept 2013 in an article headlined ‘Guan Eng wants to meet jailed Uthayakumar‘:
“In a move that should gain him some sympathy from the Indian Malaysian community, DAP leader Lim Guan Eng said he is trying hard to meet imprisoned Hindraf de facto leader P. Uthayakumar.
However, Lim, denied his motive was political and said he would appeal to the home minister since his request to meet with Uthayakumar was turned down by Prison Department director-general Zulkifli Omar.
‘As an ex-convict myself, I know the needs that are not met and I plan to see Uthayakumar as a humanitarian gesture,’ Lim told reporters at the DAP headquarters today.
This would including helping to meet Uthayakumar’s medical needs, he said.
Lim presented reporters with copies of letters he had written to the Prison Department and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in his official capacity as Penang chief minister. […]
Lim, who himself was once jailed for violation of the Printing Presses and Publications Act, said he sympathises with Uthayakumar.”
Between Najib Nambikei and the ‘sympathetic’ Guan Eng
Guan Eng’s stint in the very same Kajang prison, as everyone and his neighbour’s cat in Malaysia knows, still remains a cause celebre especially among Dapsters who never tire of reminding you that their DAP hero went to jail for the sake of a Malay girl.
(Please pause and reflect on what Uthaya went to jail for.)
And since Guan Eng is so sympathetic, and plus he told so many reporters that he’s so very keen to see Uthaya in order to offer help with meeting Uthaya’s medical needs, how about the party sec-gen — as a “humanitarian gesture” — lobby for that plastic chair to be placed in a safer cell?
(Prisoner Uthaya can then be relocated along with his eagerly hoped-for-chair to that same safe cell instead of sitting in a death row cell.)
You really have to wonder why it is that Uthaya who didn’t steal anything, didn’t rob anyone, didn’t maim or kill anybody is being put in a death row cell.
In any case, happy 52nd birthday to the prisoner currently in ‘Little India’ (Kajang prison is populated predominantly by Indians).
To understand the pain cause by a prolapsed disc, please read the next posting HERE