Beng Hock’s family laments wilting support

By Boo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider

The family of Teoh Beng Hock called on all Malaysians yesterday to continue supporting their quest for justice, lamenting the shrinking audience at events for the dead DAP political aide.

His sister Lee Lan noted at a forum yesterday that the number of people at events related to Teoh has been gradually decreasing since his funeral service last year.

“If you did not really follow this (Teoh Beng Hock) case, you have already lost your rights as a citizen of Malaysia,” she said at a forum last night.

“We are not partisan. This is not a political issue, but it is about the country and the kind of system we have,” she said, expressing hopes that even the MCA would remember the support it had given to her family when former MCA president Datuk Ong Tee Keat paid his last respects to Teoh last year.

Lee Lan said her family would continue fighting for the truth to be revealed despite the shocking turn of events which saw the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ revelation of a new piece of evidence in the form of a note purportedly written by Teoh, widely believed to be a suicide note.

Teoh’s family has criticised Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail’s office for the revelation a year after it was allegedly found and called it highly “suspicious”.

The Bar Council has demanded that the Najib administration set up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to probe the young political aide’s death and censured the A-G’s act of attempting to tender new evidence towards the end of the inquest as a “serious lapse of judgment”.

The lawyer for the Teohs, Gobind Singh Deo, has questioned the authenticity of the note that was allegedly found among Teoh’s belongings two months after his death, and accused the government lawyers of suppressing crucial evidence.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has also asked if Teoh was “forced to commit suicide” and demanded a full investigation into the possibility of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) interrogators subjecting Teoh to immense pressure and stress.

“I do not believe that he killed himself,” said social activist Lee Ban Chen at the forum.

“Why would a witness who was supposed to marry tomorrow and is expecting a child kill himself?” asked Lee, saying that Teoh’s death was at the heart of a plot by the Barisan Nasional (BN) to wrest Selangor back from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) like what had happened in Perak.

Lee, who was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) from 1967 to 1974 for being involved in a workers’ strike, said that even if Teoh was found to have killed himself, he was likely tortured to the point of suicide.

Non-governmental organisation Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) founder Haris Ibrahim echoed Lee’s points, listing four reasons as to why Teoh could not have committed suicide.

“This is not a case of suicide. I do not need an inquest to confirm that,” said Haris, adding that four facts dismissed the possibility of a suicide: Teoh was a father-to-be, he was due to get married the day he was found dead, his friends have confirmed Teoh asking them if they would be attending his wedding, and his lawyer who had accompanied him to the MACC office said that Teoh was calm and composed.

The death of the 30-year-old political secretary has been the subject of a year-old inquest after widespread disbelief that he killed himself after being questioned over graft allegations by the MACC on July 15 last year.

Teoh had been detained overnight by the MACC at its Selangor headquarters in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, before his body was found the following afternoon.

Haris also claimed that the A-G’s office brought up the “suicide note” at such a late stage of the inquest as renowned Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand has been scheduled to testify tomorrow.