DEATH OF TEOH BENG HOCK: A mystery waiting to be solved

Victim's injuries consistent with a fall, say police. Suhakam says duration of questioning 'inhumane and cruel' 

EVENTS leading to the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock, 30, remain a mystery in the absence of a CCTV system at the high security area of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) Selangor headquarters in Shah Alam.

While police have said the injuries suffered by Teoh were consistent with that caused by a fall, questions have been raised on what had transpired between the time he was last seen sleeping on a sofa at the 14th floor of the MACC building at 6am, slightly more than two hours after he was released from questioning, and when his body was spotted lying in a pool of blood on the fifth floor, around 1.30pm.

It is learnt that police have in their custody Teoh's handphone, which would be sent for forensics checks.

Sources said police hoped to glean information from people he might have called or texted between 6am and 1.30pm.

His family, however, has ruled out suicide as a cause as Teoh, who was supposed to have registered his marriage today, did not have any problems.

It is learnt that police recorded statements from several Selangor MACC officers late last night to shed light into the incident.

The death of the former political secretary of DAP Seri Kembangan assemblyman and State exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah, the first while under MACC investigation, had also sparked a debate on why he was required to undergo almost 11 hours of questioning from 5pm on Wednesday until 3.45am, since the MACC had questioned him as a witness and not as a suspect.

Teoh was a witness in a case being investigated by the Selangor MACC in relation to financial allocations for Selangor State representatives.

Lawyers Malay Mail spoke to pointed out that while the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 gives an MACC officer the discretionary power to conduct questioning for any duration and time period he sees fit, this should not apply to witnesses as they are deemed to be volunteering information and therefore, should not be treated as suspects. 

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam described the duration of Teoh's questioning as "inhumane and cruel".

Siva said Suhakam would push for the streamlining of interrogation procedures for the MACC so that it would be in compliance with international standards of human rights.

"The Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and the MACC Act should be coordinated in this matter. It doesn't mean that the MACC cannot investigate anyone, but it has to follow the norms as stated in the CPC."

Siva said Suhakam would wait for police to complete the investigation before starting its own with the intention of recommending to the government a standard policy governing interrogation procedures, including the timeframe and duration, to deter a recurrence of yesterday'sincident.

"If our inquiry reveals that there are violations of human rights, then we would suggest to the government
to make amendments to the law," he said.

"This is not about an individual, this concerns everyone. We should look at the big picture, and not just this case."

Suhakam, however, needs to study the provisions under the MACC Act to determine if the MACC has immunity over the matter.

"At the present moment, I can say that it is inhumane and cruel (to question Teoh until 3.45am). They (the MACC) must be able to justify their action."

Parents dismiss suicide rumours

THE parents of Teoh Beng Hock have ruled out any possibility that their son may have committed suicide, claiming that he was always happy.

His mother Chong Sau Huay, 56, who spoke to China Press at the family's home in Malacca, said he possessed an optimistic personality and had never once complained while working for Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah.

She said her son had made it a habit to call the family twice a day and had never mentioned anything about being unhappy.

Chong, however, remarked that the phone calls were more frequent, especially on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, his father Teoh Liang Fai, a taxi driver, said his son was always looking out for the less fortunate.

He said Teoh last returned to Alor Gajah two weeks ago, when he happily announced his wedding date to friends and family.

120 protest at MACC office


SUPPORT: About 120 demonstrators protest over the death of Teoh Beng Hock during the candlelight vigil at MACC office at Masalam Plaza in Shah Alam yesterday. – Pic by Khairull Azry Bidin

ABOUT 120 people gathered outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Selangor branch office at Plaza Masalam, Section 9, Shah Alam, yesterday for a candlelight vigil following the death of Teoh Beng Hock.

The demonstration began at 8.30pm and was attended by several Selangor DAP Members of Parliament and State assemblymen.

Among those present were State exco member Ronnie Liu, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, Klang MP Charles Santiago, Teratai State assemblyman Jenice Lee Ying Ha and Seputeh MP and Kinrara State assemblyman Teresa Kok.

The crowd was infuriated with Teoh's death. Banners condemning the MACC were held aloft.

The crowd shouted in unison over their discontentment towards the current administration.

Officers from both the Selangor police contingent headquarters and Shah Alam district headquarters were seen patrolling and cordoning the area.

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim arrived at the scene at 9pm to show support.

The demonstration ended about 10.30pm. – The Malay Mail