Inquest into sudden death mandatory, says expert

(NST) KUALA LUMPUR: A leading constitutional legal expert said an inquest is mandatory under the Criminal Procedure Code, more so in cases of sudden death.


Prof Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, a professor of law at Universiti Teknologi Mara, agreed with Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail's statement on the need for an inquiry before a magistrate in the case of Teoh Beng Hock.

He said there was also nothing in the law which stated that a Royal Commission could not be set up at the same time as an inquest.

Gani had said that the Royal Commission, being set up under Section 2 of the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950, was to inquire into the conduct and management of government officers and departments, or for the public welfare.

Gani added that it was only proper for a court of law to determine the cause of death.

Shad Faruqi said: "We should not be so concerned about constitutional procedures or processes but more with the result or outcome. That is more important.

"As long as justice prevails, we should be satisfied. It is not the form but the substance that matters."

He said the inquiry must be allowed to take questions related to the circumstances surrounding Teoh's fall.

"Hard questions should be asked, and the right people and forensic evidence brought in." He said an inquest would also allow for the exhumation of a body.

In Petaling Jaya yesterday, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang called for a halt to the inquest into Teoh's death to allow for the cabinet to review and widen the terms of reference for the Royal Commission.