This forum on the fifth anniversary of the mysterious death, in fact murder, of Teoh Beng Hock at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) premises in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009 is held under the shadow of another great tragedy and injustice, the MH 17 disaster on 17th July where 298 innocent lives from some 10 nations were snuffed out in an instant when the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 jetliner was blown out of Ukraine airspace by a surface-to-air missile.
On that fateful Thursday night, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak promised that “no stone would be left unturned” to investigate the MH 17 tragedy and that the perpetrators of the crime against humanity must be swiftly brought to justice.
I had given full support to Najib’s statement calling on all Malaysians to stand united as one with the Prime Minister in seeking “swift justice” against the perpetrators of the heinous crime against humanity in causing the MH 17 tragedy.
As I said at the candlelight vigil and prayer for MH 17 a short while ago outside this hall, Malaysians have prided themselves of being blessed in a land without natural disasters like earthquakes, typhoons or volcanic eruptions, but we have recently been reminded that Malaysians are vulnerable to many man-made disasters – two of which hit Malaysia in the form of unprecedented air disasters MH 370 and MH 17 in less than five months, claiming 537 innocent lives.
The cause of the MH 370 disappearance disaster is still unknown after 132 days despite the largest and longest multi-national land, sea and sub-sea search in human history, and the families, relatives and friends of the 239 passengers and who perished on March 8 are still denied the release of a full “closure”.
The relatives, families and friends of the 298 innocent lives who perished in MH 17 face a different torment – who, how and why their lives were snuffed out in an instant over Ukraine airspace, and the added ordeal of how to bring the bodies of their loved ones home for decent burial.
Tonight, we are focused on the fifth anniversary of the murder of Teoh Beng Hock, whose family had undergone torment in the past five years for they have been denied full closure, ceaselessly fighting for the truth – why and who was responsible for TBH’s death at MACC premises five years ago and the bringing of the killers to justice!
When Najib said on Thursday night that “no stone will be left unturned” to find out the causes of the MH 17 and his commitment to bring the perpetrators of the tragedy to “swift justice”, I am eerily reminded of the same commitment, in fact the very same words of “no stone will be left unturned”, which he made to the TBH family about TBH’s death five years ago.
But it is now five years and we are no nearer to bring to justice the killers of TBH despite Najib’s pledge of leaving “no stone unturned” to find out the truth of TBH’s death at the MACC premises in Shah Alam.
On the exact fifth anniversary of TBH’s death on July 16, MACC issued a statement that the three MACC officers implicated in the death of Teoh Beng Hock by the TBH Royal Commission of Inquiry had been cleared of indiscipline by the MACC special investigation team comprising its disciplinary board and the complaints committee (one of the MACC independent oversight committees).
This is a most shocking and scandalous announcement – as not only the memory of Teoh Beng Hock and TBH family, but decent Malaysians as a whole deserve full explanation how the three MACC officers implicated in TBH’s death could be cleared of indiscipline by the MACC special investigation team, without having to suffer any penalty whatsoever!
Is the life of a person, who is not an important personage in the corridors of power in Malaysia, so cheap that it could be snuffed out in a most criminal manner without having to suffer any retribution?
Anybody who revisits the Report of the RCI on Teoh Beng Hock can only feel outraged and scandalized by the announcement of the clearing of the three MACC officers implicated in TBH’s death.
The TBH RCI committed a great flaw when it failed to affix responsibility for Beng Hock’s death, whether on the MACC officers or on the MACC although there were evidence galore before the RCI proceedings.
It was not just persons, namely various MACC officers led by Hishammuddin Hashim the then Selangor MACC Deputy Director and the “mastermind” of the illegal and massive 33-officer MACC “operation”, who must bear responsibility for Beng Hock’s death but also the institution of MACC as well.
Although no sufficient evidence was adduced at the RCI to establish Beng Hock’s killers, it was clearly established at the RCI that there was a conspiracy of “blue wall of silence” among the MACC officers to “cover up” what actually transpired at the MACC resulting in Beng Hock’s death, with the RCI publicly condemning the MACC Selangor officers (except for two “brave” witnesses) as a pack of liars who blatantly told lies and perjured at the RCI.
Since the publication of the RCI report in July 2011, Najib had washed his hands and cleanly forgotten his solemn undertaking to Beng Hock’s family to “leave no stone unturned” to find out the real causes of Beng Hock’s death – in other words, to hunt down Beng Hock’s killers!
After the publication of the RCI report, Najib said he left the decision of penalising the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) trio named by the RCI to the MACC, the police and the Attorney-General.
But the MACC trio implicated in TBH’s death had been completely exonerated and not “penalised” in any manner by the triumvirate of police, AG’s chambers and the MACC – which is not only a gross travesty of justice but a violation of Najib’s “no stone unturned” pledge to the TBH family.
We need only refer to the Conclusion of the Report of the RCI on TBH to sense the gravity and enormity of the travesty of justice in exonerating both the MACC trio and the MACC in the killing of TBH, where the RCI referred to the criminality of the MACC officers in “’a blue wall of silence’ based on brotherhood ties among those (MACC) officers” – “the untruths spouted by the MACC officers to cover up the nefarious activities that took place on the 15th and the 16th”, i.e the events leading to the death of TBH.
Para 363 of the Report of the TBH RCI is most revealing:
“363. But what is most saddening and regrettable is that the operation that the Selangor MACC embarked upon led to the death of TBH, a promising young man in the prime of life who had everything to look forward to. His family was robbed of a son and brother, his fiancée of a husband and his then unborn child of a father. We can feel the pain and anguish that they must have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the callous machinations and attitudes of the MACC officers who were involved in the operation. We express our heartfelt sympathies on the loss that the family of TBH and his fiancée and son have had to bear and continue to bear. We can only hope that time will assuage their pain.”
The TBH RCI was established not “to feel the pain and anguish” of TBH family or to convey condolences to TBH family for the death of TBH but to ascertain, among other things, TBH’s killers and to act against the MACC and its officers for their “nefarious activities” and “callous machinations” resulting in TBH’s death.
The TBH RCI had abdicated its specific term of reference “to enquire into the death of Teoh Beng Hock and the circumstances surrounding and contributing to his death”.
Para 336 of the TBH RCI said: “336: We are of the view that the death of TBH should not be in vain and all attempts should be made to improve the functioning of the MACC and the administration of criminal justice in the country as a result of our inquiry into the workings of the MACC. The evidence adduced showed that the MACC officers were prepared to go to great lengths to lie.”
The scandal of Beng Hock’s tragic death at the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009 is not just MACC officers “were prepared to go to great lengths to lie” but the MACC as an institution which went to great lengths to participate in a conspiracy of silence and lies to pervert the course of justice to “cover up” the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death.
How can the triumvirate of Police, AG’s Chamber and MACC clear the three MACC officers implicated in TBH’s death, as well as MACC itself, when the RCI had made such devastating and damaging damnations about the nefarious criminality of the MACC and its officers resulting in the TBH’s death?
Beng Hock’s death would be “in vain” if firstly, his killers remain free and unpunished; and secondly, the MACC is not held responsible and liable for his death and instead allowed to “go to great lengths” to participate in a “cover-up” of the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death at the TBH RCI, with MACC officers telling “lies after lies” at the RCI.
I call on Malaysians to stand for justice and to make a commitment that they will not rest until the “cover-up” of Teoh Beng Hock’s criminal and senseless murder is exposed and the killers, including MACC, are brought to justice.
DAP and Pakatan Rakyat will continue to highlight the injustice of Teoh Beng Hock’s unresolved murder at MACC premises in the next meeting of Parliament.
(Speech at the fifth anniversary Teoh Beng Hock memorial forum “Human Rights and Political Justice” at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) on Saturday, 19th July 2014 at 8.30 pm)