Friday, January 8, 2010

Beng Hock’s family to cite MACC officer for contempt

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — The family of Teoh Beng Hock will apply today to commit a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer for contempt of court for lodging a police report against Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand.

Family lawyer Karpal Singh said today in a statement that the application will be made against MACC officer Raub Ghani at the Shah Alam magistrate’s court.

“To our minds this is criminal intimidation and a threat to a witness,” Karpal told reporters after filing the papers in the court here.

He said the court should also direct the AG to take action against the same officer under Section 5 of the Abduction and Criminal Intimidation of Witnesses Act 1947which is punishable with 10 years imprisonment and fine.

On Jan 1 two MACC officers lodged police reports against the “Suara Keadilan” tabloid and pathologist Dr Pornthip over an article which confirmed as murder the death of Selangor political aide Teoh who had been questioned by the MACC.

The officers from the Putrajaya MACC investigation branch, made the reports at the Shah Alam district police headquarters here.

They said in their report that they had read the article in the newspaper, dated Dec 29, 2009 to Jan 5 2010, and found that the article concluded that Teoh, a political aide to a Selangor state executive councillor, had been murdered.


They said in the report that, according to the article, Teoh, who was found dead on the fifth floor of the Plaza Masalam building on July 16 last year, was confirmed to have been murdered based on the second post mortem conducted on the body at the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Nov 22 last year.

The two men claimed the report marred the MACC’s image.

Lawyers for Teoh’s family have slammed the police report lodged against Dr Pornthip, saying it could affect the ongoing inquest investigating his mysterious death.

Gobind Singh Deo and Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, representing his employer, the Selangor government, had reportedly said that the two MACC officers had the right to lodge reports but these must have an adequate foundation.

Gobind said it was absurd for the MACC officers to lodge a report against the forensic expert based on the article that quoted anonymous sources.

He said the police report may affect the ongoing inquest as Dr Pornthip may feel intimidated by the police probe and not turn up for the inquest.

The affidavit signed by Teoh’s elder brother, Meng Kee, was filed at the Shah Alam Magistrate court this afternoon.

Karpal pointed out that Dr Pornthip was a crucial witness and should be allowed to give evidence without fear and added that “no obstacle should be put in her way.”

“I call on the new MACC chief Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed to ensure his officers abide by the law,” the veteran lawyer said.

He added the case had attracted international attention and the entire Malaysian justice system was under scrutiny.

Meanwhile, lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said he hoped the AG would support their application.

“We have come this far and we don’t need this sort of intimidation,” he told reporters.

He added that the application to cite the MACC officer for contempt would be brought to the attention of the magistrate on Thursday when the inquest is scheduled for a mention for all parties to inform the court whether the second post-mortem report is ready.

Besides the reports lodged against Suara Keadilan and Dr Pornthip, the police are also investigating, for sedition, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng over his recent remarks that Teoh had been murdered.

Police today also questioned Selangor DAP chief Ean Yong Hian Wah for allegedly intimidating the police to stop harassing party leader Lim over the Teoh case.