Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Aliran: A single body should investigate death

By P Ramakrishnan

Aliran is very disappointed that the government had to appoint two bodies to inquire separately into Teoh Beng Hock's death when that matter could be - and should be - looked into by one single body.

The events leading to his death and the manner of questioning that led to his premature demise are inter-related and connected and it would be only sensible for the Royal Commission of Inquiry to have undertaken this entire task.

It can determine what caused his death and who contributed to this tragic episode and whether the long hours of questioning was a contributory factor.

The mystery surrounding Teoh's death must be vigorously and relentlessly pursued to unearth the truth - something that can only be achieved by the RCI.

Teoh's death has outraged the conscience of this nation. It is difficult to understand how his death could have taken place in a security area without the knowledge of MACC officials who had complete control over the premises.

His death has distressed us and has raised many questions of propriety in the manner he was treated by the investigating personnel(s). We must unravel the mystery that shrouds his death. But in no way can we reconcile to the possibility of a suicide.
Why would a young man about to marry the day after, a young man happily looking forward to becoming a father for the first time in about seven months' time would want to take his life!

Let's not forget that he had been on his feet the whole of Wednesday, 15 July 2009, when he was taken in at 5pm for questioning. This gruelling grilling continued into the wee hours of the next morning until 3.45am the next day - nearly 11 hours after he had gone into the MACC building.


Why should a friendly and co-operative witness - that's how a senior official of the MACC described Teoh - be subjected to this inhuman torture especially when as a witness he was there to assist the MACC?

Another witness, Tan Boon Wah, who was in the building at the same time as Teoh, had stated that he had to stand the whole time he was being questioned without food, sleep, rest or break. Beng Hock's session could not have been any different.

Anyone who had been subjected to this torture would have bolted from this hell hole when he was released at 3.45am. Why then didn't he leave the place in a jiffy?

Was it because the nearly 11 hours' of questioning had so drained him physically and emotionally that he was terribly exhausted and too weak to find his way home?

Is that why he plopped down there and then and slipped into a drowsy sleep?

What happened after that? When did he wake up? Who woke him up? Did anybody bother about his presence in that security area? Does it suggest that he was still confined within that building, thus holding the MACC responsible for his safety?

He was confined in an area with strict security measures. Nobody can come in and go out as one pleases. That being the case, shouldn't someone have checked on him to make sure that he left the building in good time?

To say that his body was discovered only at 1.30pm is ludicrous. He must have been in the building confined for nearly 10 hours. Is it reasonable even to think that nobody bothered about his continued presence in the building?

The MACC according to thinking Malaysians is a totally discredited entity that has failed to live up to the peoples' expectations. It is not perceived as an independent, neutral body doing its work without fear or favour.

Instead, it comes across as a body that seems to be hounding the Pakatan elected representatives only. People ask with justification why didn't the MACC act with vigour in pursuing reports made against Khir Toyo's palatial abode costing millions of ringgit?

People are questioning why Balkis was not investigated when they transferred millions of ringgit soon after Pakatan took over the Selangor government? People are wondering why the MACC didn't train their guns on the Barisan Nasional elected representatives who spent millions of ringgit within three months when the Selangor state government fell from the BN to the Pakatan?

Compare their indifference when millions of ringgit were involved implicating certain BN members. On the other hand, look how relentlessly they pursued a matter allegedly involving RM2,400!

These questions need answers. Only a RCI - headed by a person of impeccable integrity - undertaking the entire episode concerning Teoh's death can lay bare the facts of the case.

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