Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nod for royal panel and inquest into Teoh’s death


PUTRAJAYA: An inquest will be held to investigate the cause of death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock while a Royal Commission of Inquiry will be formed to look into the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s interrogation methods to which he was subjected.

He said the report would be made public when completed and he would personally meet with Teoh’s family to explain to them the findings.

“I would like to stress that the Government will do whatever is necessary to find the truth.”

Najib said the Cabinet made those decisions yesterday to ensure that there would be no repeat of incidents like Teoh’s death.

“It also reflects the Govern-ment’s commitment in finding the cause of the death so that Teoh’s family and the public know what really happened,” he told a press conference at his office here yesterday.

Teoh, 30, was found dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam on July 16 after being interviewed for at least 10 hours by the Selangor MACC in connection with allegations that certain state assemblymen were misusing constituency funds.

Teoh, who was Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah’s political secretary, was not a suspect but was being questioned as a witness.

Najib said the inquest into Teoh’s cause of death would be headed by a magistrate as required by law.

“It will be up to the courts to decide on who will be the magistrate in charge of the inquest.”

He added that the courts had already been notified of the Cabinet’s decision and he expected the inquest to begin next week.

As for the Royal Commission, Najib said it would be set up with specific terms of reference to scrutinise and study the procedures related to interrogation used by the MACC.

(Caption: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announcing the Cabinet’s decision to the press at his office in Putrajaya Wednesday. — ROHAIZAT MD. DARUS / The Star)

“It will also identify if there were violations of human rights during Teoh’s interrogation.”

He said the members of the Royal Commission would be announced later.

Najib said that in line with the 1Malaysia principle of “’People First, Performance Now”, he had told the Cabinet that government institutions were created to protect the people’s rights and interests.

“As such, they cannot act against or neglect the people’s interests or act beyond the country’s laws and the Constitution,” he said.

He said Cabinet members were just as anxious to know how Teoh died and hoped that all parties would be patient and refrain from making statements that could cause confusion or create the wrong perception on the issue while the investigations were still ongoing.

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