Assignment : Kugan’s mom wait for justice

(Disclaimer : This is only an assignment on narrative journalism and not an actual news but they are based on my personal interview and also information I obtained from the news.)


They came to the house one morning and dragged him away. The family was exasperated. They do not know where the police have taken him. They were not told why the young man was taken away. Five days went by and there was no news of him.

“I still remember the inspector’s name! Inspector Shauki! Until now, I still remember!” Renuga said, shaking with anger and yet her voice quivered with pain.

“He died at 11am. But they only come and tell us at 9 pm. How could they! “ she continues and the flashback to that fateful day broke the calm in her. Tears started welling in her eyes. The young man’s bereaved mother who was standing next to Renuga sobbed.

The whole of Malaysia knew what happened. A young man, A. Kugan age 22 years old died in police custody on January 20, 2009. Video clips on Youtube showed his body covered with bruises and skin torn. The lifeless, burly injured body covered with the prison orange garb stayed in everyone’s mind. The news spread like wildfire and every single Malaysians were shocked. He was foaming from the nostrils and mouth.

This is no ordinary death. This is death of justice. The first statement from the police was Kugan died after drinking a cup of water. Later on, post mortem report said he had asthma and died because of water in the lungs.
If the death of a son is not bad enough for Indra who is Kugan’s 41 years old mom, the family were even blamed for the bruises on his body because authority said the body was tampered with when the family visited Kugan’s lifeless body at the hospital morque.

“The police interrogated the mother, the aunty and even I, the lawyer was interrogated!” Lawyer N. Surendran told citizen journalist Chan Lilian and other media members. The case is still pending because N. Surendran said the family cannot start the prosecution case as they cannot get a post-mortem report. The police has gone to the hospital “like a couple of thieves in the night, took away every, single blood, tissue and body fluids samples, including the doctor’s handwritten notes.” That’s why Kugan’s mother, aunty and the lawyer were at the Kuala Lumpur High Courts because they wanted the hearing for the case to get the samples back.
“What can I do? I feel sad. Kugan’s younger siblings feel sad too. We can only look at his photos every day…..The Government…the government….” The weak voice expressed how helpless she felt because she is going nowhere with the court case.

Death of a child is the most painful experience anyone can experience. But Kugan’s mom got it much worse. On that rainy day, eight days after her son’s death on January 28, the whole nation grieved with her. Kugan was buried only after eight days because the family had insisted on a second post-mortem as the first one stated Kugan died of asthma.
Everyone is moved to tears to see the mother’s tear soaked handkerchief fell into the muddy grave after her son’s coffin was lowered into the grave.

No one is charged so far. Eleven policemen were transferred out from the police station where Kugan died. No one knows when Kugan’s mom can finally put a closure to her son’s brutal death. Kugan’s mom shall have to wait for justice, six months after his death.

From : Chan Lilian

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