Home Ministry: 721 prisoner deaths in past 40 months

KUALA LUMPUR: The Home Ministry today said 721 prisoners died in the past 40 months.

Padang Serai MP N. Surendran said this works out to a staggering average of 18 prison deaths per month.

"It is an unacceptable statistics. Prisoners are entitled to proper medical care even though they are deprived of their freedom of movement," Surendran told reporters in Parliament's lobby.

This was revealed in a written reply by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to his oral question.

The racial composition of the deceased prisoners are 427 Malays, 104 Chinese, 91 Indians, 10 "lain-lain", and 89 foreigners.

"We want the Home Minister to explain to why there were so many prison deaths, said Surendran, adding that he also wanted to know if prisoners were given adequate healthcare with reasonable quality.