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After 12 years of inaction, group wants decision on Teoh Beng Hock’s death

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 16/7/2021 Ainaa Aiman
a tall building: Teoh Beng Hock was found dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, hours after he had gone into the building for questioning by Selangor MACC. © Provided by Free Malaysia Today Teoh Beng Hock was found dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, hours after he had gone into the building for questioning by Selangor MACC.

PETALING JAYA: Twelve years on after the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock during an MACC investigation in 2009, a group dedicated to seeking justice for him is now pressing the attorney-general to make a decision on his case.

“The attorney-general must act and charge the culprits accordingly if there is evidence,” they said during an online memorial in commemoration of his 12th death anniversary this evening, titled “A delay of justice is injustice”.

Chairman of the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, Ng Yap Hwa said they are demanding that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin take action on the investigation, which was reopened in 2018 under the Pakatan Harapan administration.

“As a member of Parliament and then Cabinet member who had collectively agreed to reopen the investigation, he (Muhyiddin) has a moral duty to complete the investigation and ensure justice for Teoh,” Yap said.

Teoh Beng Hock posing for the camera: Teoh Beng Hock. © Provided by Free Malaysia Today Teoh Beng Hock.

In 2009, Teoh, who was the political aide to then Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, hours after he had gone into the building for questioning by the Selangor Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) at its office on the 14th floor.

A royal commission of inquiry concluded that Teoh was driven to suicide by the aggressive interrogation methods used by MACC officers. It also blamed three officers for their aggressive methods, which it said had violated procedures.

In 2014, a Court of Appeal decision concluded that one or more unknown persons, including MACC officers had caused Teoh’s death.

Bukit Gelugor MP and lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said the family has enough grounds for legal action to compel the AG to decide on the case in the event that he does not respond, adding that the 12-year delay is “clearly unreasonable”.

He said that based on the facts and the circumstances of the case, the AG has to take action one way or the other and the decision should be made known to the public.

He again urged the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) that would help avoid custodial abuses by police in the future.

However, lawyer M Visvanathan said that aside from the IPCMC, a new mechanism must be established for the coroner’s court through an independent Coroner’s Court Act.

“The coroner’s court must be equipped with more effective powers,” he said.

Another lawyer, Andrew Khoo, who was also present during the memorial agreed that there needs to be an independent coroner’s court, where the coroner acts as an inquisitor directing an investigation.

“We need a coroner’s court that becomes an inquisitorial system, not an adversarial system like it is now.”

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