Two-week inquest into Teoh’s death kicks off today

Written by Chua Sue-Ann, The Edge 

The Shah Alam Magistrate's Court is set to begin its inquest today into the death of political secretary Teoh Beng Hock, with some 77 witnesses lined up in an attempt to shed light on the tragedy.

The inquiry is to run from July 29 to Aug 12 with Shah Alam High Court deputy registrar Azmil Muntapha Abas appointed the coroner.

The deputy public prosecutor, who would serve as the presiding officer in the inquest, has not been named as of today.

Selangor Chief Police Officer Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar today confirmed that the inquest had subpoenaed 77 witnesses, including 28 Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers, all of whom had given statements to the police.

Teoh was found dead at 1.30pm on July 16 on the rooftop of the fifth floor of the building next to the Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam where MACC's Selangor headquarters was located.

Teoh, an aide of Selangor state executive council (exco) member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was held there overnight for questioning as part of the MACC's probe into allegations of misuse of allocations by several Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen.

According to the MACC, Teoh was released on July 16 at 3.45am and was last seen at 6am the same day, sleeping on the sofa in the pantry.

Among the 77 witnesses summoned to take the stand are Ean Yong (who is Seri Kembangan assemblyman), Teoh's lawyer M Manoharan (Kota Alam Shah assemblyman), Selangor exco member Teresa Kok's aide Mandy Ooi and several journalists.

According to Ean Yong, his aide Evonne Lee as well as Teoh's father, brother, sister and fiancee Sor Cher Wei have also been called to testify.

Teoh's mysterious death sparked a massive public outcry, mounting pressure on the government to thoroughly investigate the many unanswered questions surrounding his demise.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak ordered the inquest to investigate Teoh's death and a royal commission of inquiry to examine MACC's investigation procedures.

The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has also pledged to investigate Teoh's death.

During the two-week inquest, lawyers for the Malaysian Bar Council, Teoh's family and the Selangor state government would be holding watching briefs.

The Selangor administration has appointed prominent human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar while DAP chairman Karpal Singh and Puchong member of parliament Gobind Singh Deo will represent Teoh's family at the inquest.

Bar Council president K Ragunath said its watching brief team would today apply for permission to question witnesses during the inquest.

Teoh, a former journalist, was laid to rest at the Semenyih Memorial Park on July 20 after a grand send-off by some 2,000 people at his family home in Alor Gajah, Malacca.

Initial findings of the post-mortem on Teoh's body conducted by two pathologists found that Teoh had died of multiple injuries due to a high fall.