Former Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said the decision by the Cabinet to split the investigations on the death of Teoh Beng Hock while in the custody of MACC , between a magistrate's court and a royal commission of inquiry is another “ploy for cover-ups.”
He noted that a royal commission would be UNLIKELY to solve the deep-seated problems affecting the public's trust in government institutions.
“Why split? The magistrate will determine the cause of death? Which is a fall from a high place. Then the royal commission is for determining procedures adopted by MACC? Don't they have a manual? Then who determines the culprits? The police.He pointed to the failure of the Attorney-General to follow up with concrete action after the highly-publicised royal commission of inquiry's hefty report on Datuk V.K. Lingam disclosed incriminating evidence of hanky-panky between the prominent lawyer and several influential VIPs, including judges, politicians and business tycoons.
So we're back to square one. Sickening. The rakyat will not get the truth from this government.
Did you get anything from the royal commission on Lingam video? None.
What's the difference now?
There will be cover-ups and more cover-ups."
Zaid, who is away in London, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must answer to the public on the government's lack of determination to see justice done on the wrong-doers, all the way through to the end.
The Royal Commission of Deception
Read here for more in malaysiakini
Prime Minister Najib Razak has finally announced the setting up of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI).... But what a let down, and what a deception!
Instead of probing Teoh Beng Hock's death, the Commission is asked to look into the interrogation methods of the MACC.
The absurdity of this move is akin to a school boy caned to death in a school, and the public inquiry is over the disciplinary procedure of the school, not over how and why the boy met his death.
Najib thinks that an RCI looking into MACC's methodology would be sufficient to douse the anger and restore confidence in his leadership.
What does he take Malaysians for? A bunch of dimwits?
Concurrent with this RCI is an inquest where a magistrate would look into the cause of death. But any one familiar with legal practice can tell you that comparing an inquest to a RCI is like a child vs an adult.
- A Royal Commission of Inquiry is commissioned by the King, and it is usually made up of senior members of society with distinguished records of competence and integrity, and having wide power to summon for witnesses and evidence, and reporting to the King;
- An INQUEST is manned by a JUNIOR legal officer whose source of evidence is limited to feedings from the authorities (mainly police) with NO power to call for witnesses and other evidence, and forwarding the findings to the attorney general.
Besides, without allowing RCI to probe into the death, how could it fathom what has gone wrong with the operations of MACC's? In fact these two tasks are integral and inseparable.
Only when the full circumstances surrounding the death are ascertained, can the defects of the system be defined and recommendations made.
This is plain common sense, and I can't imagine a man of Najib's intelligence being unable to comprehend this. That leaves us with no alternative but to conclude that the UMNO leadership is playing a game of hide and seek with the public as far this tragedy is concerned.
THE SUSPICIOUS ACTIONS OF THE MALAYSIAN POLICE
The police investigations in particular have been shockingly questionable and unprofessional.
- Why didn't the police seal the office, seize all relevant documents including notes of interrogation, dust for finger prints particularly those at the window on the very first day (July 16), as death by foul means clearly could not be excluded.
- Despite evidence of Teoh's fall from the building while under custody, why did Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar say that he did not suspect foul play and classified the case as "sudden death" - even before autopsy was performed? Didn't this presumption betray patronization of a fellow law-enforcing agency?
- Why did the police forensics personnel visit the crime scene only on Day FOUR (July 19) to take evidence, removing articles such as documents, CCTV records, window latch etc, knowing that vital clues could have been erased, tampered with or removed in the intervening threee days? Didn't this reflect a lack of seriousness?
- Why did the police DENY repeatedly to assemblyman Ronnie Liu (left) until day FOUR that it possessed Teoh's hand phone, when in fact it had been in their hands since day one? For what reason or reasons were the police secretly keeping the phone for so many days?
- The body was discovered at 1:30pm and Teoh's boss assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah arrived at the MACC office at 5pm asking to see Teoh, but the personnel therein including Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar did not entertain him for more than an hour.
- Why keep the news from Ean Yong for so long? Why wasn't Teoh's family informed in the first instance ? Was this long duration of silence a needed interval to complete certain preparatory work before the bad news was announced to the world? Shouldn't such improper conduct give rise to suspicious imputations?
- The autopsy was completed on day TWO (July 17), why were the police still keeping the findings under the lid?
THE CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF MACC OFFICERS
There are questions that suggest criminal liability of MACC Officers over Teoh's death to the backdrop of a political conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the Selangor Pakatan state government with corruption prosecutions.
- Why did director of investigations Shukri Abdul lie that Teoh was released at 3:4am and that he had no idea how Teoh's body landed on the fifth floor balcony, when in fact Teoh was never released and fell off a window in the office? Was there a necessity to lie if there was no criminal liability on the part of MACC?
- Why was Teoh tortured in a marathon interrogation that stretched into the early hours of morning when he was not a criminal suspect but only a witness assisting in an investigation over a hearsay allegation of misappropriation of a paltry RM 2,400 by his boss Ean Yong?
- Ean Yong was among a group of seven Pakatan assemblymen selected for investigation for unspecified suspicion of miss-using their annual allocations of half a million ringgit each.
- In contrast, Pakatan complaints against BN assemblymen for having dubiously spent their entire annual allocations within the short period of two months shortly before the last election in March 8, 08 have been met with silence for more than a year.
- Why have Pakatan leaders been systematically hounded over dubious petty allegations whilethe MACC routinely plays deaf and dumb over multi-million and even multi-billion scandals of corruption and abuse of power by Barisan Nasional leaders? Why the silence over the RM 12.5 billion PKFZ scandal despite having received numerous complaints from Pakatan since 2004? Why no notice was taken over the recently exposed mansion of former Selangor Menteri Besar Khir Toyo reputedly worth RM24 million which was well beyond his accumulated official income?
- Why NO action against Khir for the numerous reports of corruption and abuse of power uncovered by the Pakatan state government since the last election?
It is in the realization of this despicable role played by the MACC, that the tragic death of an upright and dedicated young man - who was due to get married on the day his life was so cruelly snuffed out - has caused the nation's tolerance to reach breaking point.
Let us resolve that the fascist powers be not tolerated henceforth. Let us all stand up for justice for Teoh Beng Hock.