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Friday, July 22, 2011

As expected, RCI cops out: Beng Hock committed suicide

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:24 AM | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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As expected, the Royal Commission of Inquiry, in an unanimous decision, found that Teoh Beng Hock had been driven to commit suicide by “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous” interrogation by three MACC officers.
But tough-sounding the RCI's words may be, it was a cop out on justice due to the 30-year-old Selangor political officer. This way, the RCI hopes to satisfy his family without having to bring to book the MACC officers involved.
"He was felt pressured and stressed as a result of continuous interrogation techniques," Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz told reporters on Monday.

Nazri also assured that "appropriate action will be taken against those officers involved" for going against MACC procedure based on the rules and laws already in place at that time. But this is obviously lets them off the hook for murder, which Teoh's family wants them to be prosecuted for.
The three officers named were Selangor MACC Deputy Director Hishamuddin Hashim, and his officers Mohamad Anuar Ismail and Ashraf Mohd Yunus.
Forced suicide and hogwash
Pakatan Rakyat leaders lambasted the decision, warning that the Chinese community would not take kindly to it They also accused Prime Ministe Najib Razak of trying to shield his party members, some of whom have been accused of triggering the chain of events that led to Beng Hock's death.
"It sounds like whitewash that has been turned to hogwash. No man about to get married the next day and looking forward to his first child would ever, ever consider suicide. And that is the simple truth to it all," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.
As DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang also pointed out, "forced suicide" is homicide.
"You cannot have a situation it’s not homicide but (rather) forced to commit suicide,” Malaysian Insider quoted him as saying.
Other pundits believe that knowing that the BN had already lost the Chinese vote "for good", Najib did not push for the full extent of justice to be given to Beng Hocks.
However, there were those who said that in any case, Najib would still have put his political self-preservation above all other considerations.
A homicide decision might trigger the MACC officers to spill their guts out and reveal much more than the UMNO warlords - known for their corrupt ways - could stomach.
Regaining S'gor and what if the MACC spilt the beans back on UMNO
As Beng Hock's widow Soh Cher Wei had once described, he was a mere "pawn" in a power game. Teoh's death occured in July 2009, soon after Najib used the Perak royalty to oust the Pakatan-led Perak state government.  The UMNO elite then trained their eyes on Selangor, which had also fallen to Pakatan during the 2008 general election.
Speculation has been red-hot that Selangor UMNO chieftains concoted an embezzlement conspiracy with the MACC to trigger the collapse of the state government. A long list of Selangor Pakatan leaders were investigated for corruption and cheating charges. One of these was Ean Yong, the Seri Kembangan assemblyman and Beng Hock's boss, who was eventually cleared of all allegations.
But on July 15, 2009, Beng Hock was called in to give his statement as a witness into Ean's activities. Beng Hock never left the MACC office at the Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam alive again. His body was found on the 5th floor podium, believed to have fallen from the 14th floor MACC office, where he had been interrogated.
MACC immediately insisted it was suicide but his family were sure foul play was involved. He was due to register his marriage with Soh on July 16, the day his body was discovered. Soh was then pregnant with their child and has since given birth to a son. But the Teohs are still passionate about justice for Beng Hock, who must have died a terribly painful death.
"It is both a racial and a non-racial thing. It is true, Najib knows he can't get make headway with the Chinese anymore but even if he can, do you think he would dare upset the MACC guys. They know so  much about him and the other UMNO leaders. All the MACC officers need to do is to leak out all their dirty deals and the UMNO warlords are finished," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
"I am not sure what is the next move for the Teohs but I amsure they won't give up. I hope the Ahmad Sarbani family will also take note and not be discouraged. Instead of throwing in the towel and accept that you can't beat BN, we must make sure we get the judiciary right and cleaned up. Or else, there will another death and another and another.
RCI Report
Most Malaysians had already smelled a rat when Najib refused to allow the Teoh family or the Bar Council to have a say in the panel selection for the RCI. The PM handpicked the members himself. Fearing the worst, the Teohs boycotted the RCI. Sad to say, their worst concerns did materialize.
"The conclusion of suicde is speculative and unconvincing. The use of violent tactics by the MACC supports the complaints made by the lawyers and the opposition for decades that enforcement bodies are acting outside the law. Brutality has become a habit with the MACC, the police and other such bodies. Yet, the BN government refuses to reform these institutions," N Surendran, a human rights lawyer, told Malaysia Chronicle.
In the 124-page report released Thursday the commission (right, below) said that three MACC officers had probably tried to coerce him into making a statement that it was Selangor state executive council member Ean Yong Hian Wah, Teoh's boss, who had “directed him to commit unlawful acts in handling” an allocation.
“This session must have been very taxing on Teoh both physically and mentally.
“He had been deprived of sleep throughout that night and into the morning and had had to endure persistent, aggressive and unscrupulous questioning.
“His physical condition as described by Ashraf when fetching him the glass of water was that Teoh had moved to sit in an upright position very slowly.
“This fourth interrogation session, to our minds, must have been the final straw that broke the camel's back.”
The commission made some recommendations for the change of attitude of MACC officers as there were "serious weaknesses" at the Selangor MACC office.
These include:
a)brutality in interviews
b)poor interview skills
c)poor reporting
e)poor relationship with the public and other agencies
f)insufficient use and understanding of the capacity of modern 
g)possible problems with interaction between intelligence-gathering and evidence gathering
h)lack of discipline

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