Teoh Beng Hock inquest postponed to Aug 5

(Sun Daily) – Noon: Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas has postponed the inquest into Teoh Beng Hock's death to Aug 5, following an application by lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, acting for Teoh's family, to allow them to study the post-mortem report and other evidence.

Azmil will also deliver a decision when the inquest reconvenes on whether Gobind should have access to witnesses' statements.

10.30am: Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas stands down proceedings for 30 minutes to allow him to consult the laws following an application from Gobind Singh Deo, lawyer for Teoh Beng Hock's family, to postpone proceedings on varous grounds.

The grounds were:
> Teoh's family had asked the government to allow a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe their son's death, and noted that the weekly cabinet meeting is held today.

> They have not been given relevant documents, including the pathologists’ reports, and will need time to examine the evidence to be produced. Gobind says witnesses should have been given three weeks notice from the date the post-mortem report was ready, as is the usual court practice.

Lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, who is acting for the Attorney-General's Chamber in assisting the coroner, says they are "ready and willing" to hand over all evidence, except for witnesses' statements which they had been instructed not to give.

The high-profile inquest into the death of Teoh, a political aide to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, started at 9.15am to a packed gallery, mostly journalists, lawyers and politicians.
Teoh's family is represented by Gobind Singh, SN Nair, Karpal Singh (who was not present today) and Lim Lip Eng.

The Selangor government is represented by Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and two others while the Bar Council has sent 12 lawyers on watching brief.

The coroner had earlier on granted "interested party status" to the lawyers which means they can question witnesses, through the court.

The magistrate's court room has been equipped with modern facilities, like a court recording transcript (CRT) which enables those in the court to view what the interpreter has typed simultaneously. However, it did not work as smoothly as desired and was such a distraction that Gobind asked for it to be turned off, saying it was "a form of mental torture".

The inquest, which has been scheduled to go on for 15 days, has attracted so much attention that journalists and interested parties started filling the public gallery as early as 7.30am for fear that they would not be able to get a seat. A total of 77 people, including 28 MACC personnel and several journalists, have been subpoenaed to appear before the inquest.

Background to the inquest:

Teoh, 30, was found dead on July 16 at Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, the morning after he was interviewed for about 11 hours by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which has its office on the 14th floor of the same building.

Teoh was reportedly a witness in the investigation into the alleged abuse of allocations for development by several Selangor Pakatan Rakyat state assemblymen.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced the inquest to probe his death and a Royal Commission to look into the MACC’s investigation and questioning procedures with regard to Teoh, saying this was in adherence to the laws of the land. However, the PR has repeatedly asked for the Royal Commission to also cover an inquiry into how Teoh died.