Betrayal & treachery: The RCI & the quizzing of Teoh’s family

By Wong Choon Mei, Suara Keadilan


If fair-minded Malaysians wondered if perhaps there was too much finger-pointing in the suspicious death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock, they need only look at the Royal Commission of Inquiry proposed by Prime Minister Najib Razak for a good and telling answer.

It was nothing short of daylight robbery – of the country’s intelligence.

And indeed, there has not been enough finger-pointing, not by a fair bit. Another long and arduous struggle has only just begun.

If Malaysians wondered if critics have been too harsh in castigating Najib for being high on packaging and low on substance and performance, then again his latest sham solution for Beng Hock’s family should provide the answer.

When Malaysians called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into what caused his death, Najib magnanimously agreed to one. But with the catch – his RCI will not inquire into what caused Beng Hock’s death.

Then what is this RCI for, what will it do? Well, Najib’s RCI will perform the rather secondary task of reviewing the MACC’s investigative procedures to determine if there were any human rights violations during Beng Hock’s interrogation.

This could include questions as inane as, did they feed him, give water, allowed him to use the toilets, etc. All important in their own right no doubt. But not vital as in  –  HOW DID HE DIE?

Then who will investigate what caused Beng Hock to fall nine floors to his death – from the 14th floor MACC office to the the 5th floor roof of the adjoining building?

An inquest will.

An inquest conducted by a magistrate – a member of one of Najib’s famed federal institutions – the judiciary. Yes, the judiciary as associated with the Lingam Tape, judge-fixing, Mahathir Mohamad, the extraordinary judgments in the Perak crisis, the Sujatha-Vell Paari paraquat-drinking inquest, the Altantuya-Razak Baginda C4 explosives trial.

Can Beng Hock and his family expect the same standard of impartiality and justice? Well, Najib says he will speak to Beng Hock’s parents personally.

The mind-blowing treachery

Against this sort of bare-faced hypocrisy rivaling even the thickness of China’s great wall, is it any wonder then that the police decided to spring a quick one of their own.

Quick to learn from their head honcho, they charmed Beng Hock’s family with outward shows of courtesy during questioning at the Kajang police station.

Yet in the same breath, they displayed the greatest treachery possible. They actually had the temerity to ask his father, siblings and fiancee questions aimed at whitewashing the blame from their sister agency – the MACC – and throwing it back on Beng Hock!

Said Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, one of the lawyers representing the family: “It is clear from the line of questioning that the police were trying to ascertain Teoh’s state of mind in the days leading up to the time he died. Their aim was to absolve the MACC officers’ from liability.

“But I think he contacted no one immediately before the incident because the fiancee, being the closest person to Teoh, said that she received no phone calls from him.

“The police also wanted to question more family members but after we protested, they stuck to the original four they had summoned.”

Said Eric Tan, another of the family’s lawyers: “For example, they asked about Teoh’s characters, or if he was suicidal or had complained about work before he died in trying to make a connection with his work and the possibility that he may taken his own life as a result.

“The police also asked if Teoh was a smoker perhaps insinuating that he might have gone to a window to smoke and then fell off.”

But what goes around comes around. And the most interesting revelation to surface during questioning unwittingly came from the police. They told his fiancee that his shoes were torn when his body was found.

Now how could that have happened? As one sharp commentator has pointed out, the seat of his pants were also badly torn. Would the inquest which begins next week be able to find out why?

Lastly, like lamb led to slaughter, Beng Hock’s family was asked by the press if they appreciated Najib’s RCI. They actually replied in the positive. But that was before they found out about Najib’s sleight of hand.

It remains to be seen if they will still be as satisfied once they find out that an inquest will investigate what caused their son/brother/fiancé to die.

And not an independent and eminent panel of royal commissioners as they and the rest of Malaysia were given to think.