MACC advisers briefed on Teoh’s death, call for royal inquiry

By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

It may be a fledgling set-up but there are no excuses for the way the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) handled the publicity over the mysterious death of a 30-year-old political aide at its Shah Alam office, a source told The Malaysian Insider.

The source, who asked not to be named, is one of 42 advisers appointed to oversee the national anti-graft body.

He noted the lack of basic infrastructure, including no closed-circuit television (CCTV) in and around the MACC building in Shah Alam where Teoh Beng Hock had been found after a marathon interrogation session lasting into the wee hours of the morning on July 16.

“There was no CCTV. To my mind, that's quite significant an issue because nobody outside the MACC knows what happened,” he said after attending a closed-door briefing given by MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohammad in Putrajaya yesterday to members of the five advisory panels.

He was appreciative that the advisers were given a systematic, orderly and transparent explanation of the facts leading up to Teoh's death instead of having to piece together the story from news reports.

“The facts remain the same. The question now is how to interpret the facts,” he said.

“What we can do now is to check on those things to make sure that in future, such an incident does not happen again,” he added.

The adviser said the MACC No.2 also told them Teoh had been called in only as a witness and was not questioned as a suspect in an investigation over alleged misappropriation of state funds involving his boss, Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah.

“He was a witness and not a suspect. He could have left at any time,” the source recounted.

But, he said, the MACC's poor public relations in response to the tragedy is also a missing key element, which added to the public outrage.

The source said a large number of the advisers who turned up subscribe to the idea of being more transparent and solution-seeking.

They want a full-scale Royal Commission of Inquiry set up to look deeply into not only Teoh's death but the many obstacles faced by the MACC and preventing it from working independently for reform.

“For now, we are waiting for the police report and government decision on whether or not a royal commission will be set up,” he said.

Abu Kassim will be making public the full facts surrounding the young aide's death within the week, the source added.