Teoh Beng Hock must not die in vain

Don’t let Teoh’s death be in vain
By Oon Yeoh

Much has been said and written about the tragic death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock. There is anger, sadness and confusion over what has happened.

The calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry are growing louder. Perhaps in due time we will be able to find out the truth of what actually happened, and, if some heads have to roll, let them roll.

But that alone will not stop situations like this from reoccurring, just as the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye has not stopped police brutality from persisting. Similarly, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam video has done nothing to bolster people’s confidence in the judiciary.

That’s because the underlying causes of these various problems have not been addressed, only the specific incidences of wrongdoing.

What we need are institutions that are truly independent and apolitical. The police force might claim it is above politics but its behaviour leading to, and during, the May 7 Perak state assembly sitting doesn’t make a strong case for its neutrality.

Likewise the MACC might claim to investigate graft allegations without fear or favour but, the fact that it has gone after a bunch of Selangor state representatives for allegations of corruption on relatively minor amounts (RM2,400 for the purchase of flags, for example) while not batting an eyelid over a former menteri besar’s luxury mansion, doesn’t exactly paint an image of impartiality either.

We also need our enforcement agencies to be more humane. Every one of these officers – from the top down – needs to take courses not just on civil liberties but also the Malaysian constitution. Far too often, those detained or questioned have their fundamental rights trampled all over.

Unless there is some CCTV footage of his interrogation, we might never know what exactly transpired during Teoh’s marathon grilling session which lasted from 5pm to 3.45 am. But if it’s anything like what Kajang municipal councillor, Tan Boon Hwa, says he endured, it’s certainly something that should be of grave concern to all right-thinking people.

Tan, who was also brought into questioning as a witness, says he was forced to stand for four hours, was threatened with physical violence and had to endure racial epithets. He claims there were even threats made concerning his family.

Such interrogation techniques are the kind of thing you would expect to happen when someone is detained under the dreaded ISA – which in itself is a gross violation of human rights and civil liberties – but certainly not during the questioning of witnesses.

We don’t know if Tan’s account is accurate or not, and if it is, whether Teoh was subjected to the same harsh treatment. It’s certainly something that an independent inquiry must look into.

Any independent inquiry must also shed light on whether such interrogation techniques, if indeed they were used, are part of MACC’s standard operating procedures or whether they were the actions of rogue MACC officials.

If they were the action of officials who had overstepped their boundaries, questions then need to be asked why there was no effective oversight mechanism or checks and balances to ensure such things do not happen.

The irony of the MACC, which is now viewed with total cynicism and distrust by the broader public, is that it was supposed to be a better version of the ACA, which was largely seen as ineffective. The MACC was given more powers to really go after graft but it seems to be using those powers for political persecution; to conduct unfair investigations using accusatory methods that are reminiscent of McCarthyism in the US in the 1950s.

Teoh’s death is tragic but it won’t be in vain if it brings about positive change. If Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak believes that economic reforms are all that’s necessary to appease an increasingly educated and demanding public, Teoh’s death should open his eyes. And if it doesn’t, his very savvy and capable political secretary, Oh Ei Sun, should tell him that if he wants his 1Malaysia concept to really work, he needs to buck up on civil liberties as well.


Teoh Beng Hock’s Funeral, Vigil and Public Concerns
By Sagaladoola | Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On 21st July 2009, Teoh Beng Hock , the political secretary who went into MACC building alive and came out as a corpse has laid to rest in Semenyih.

His funeral is attended by many Pakatan Rakyat politicians as can be seen here in justiceforbenghock.blogspot.com . Certainly, it is not strange, considering that Teoh Beng Hock is a political secretary to an Exco of Selangor government Ean Yong Hian Wah of Democratic Action Party (DAP). One can’t help but wonder if there were any Barisan Nasional politicians present to pay respects.

Sivin Kit posted pictures in his blog : Justice for Beng Hock . Generally, Teoh’s mother, in-laws and would-be-wife cried over Teoh’s departure. Who wouldn’t? The death is so sudden and too mysterious and justice has yet to be seen.

Firstly, it was said that there are several media somewhere pointing out that Pakatan Rakyat is making this a racial issue. This is somehow surprising because I was there at the Kelana Jaya Stadium on 20th of July, listening to speeches from MPs such as Husam Musa (PAS), Xavier Jayakumar (PKR), Lim Kit Siang (DAP), so on and so forth telling the attendees of the Memorial Vigil that Teoh’s demise should not be placed in the racial perspective.

I can remember clearly that it was mentioned that regardless if Teoh is a Malay, Chinese or Indian, Malaysians should stand together as one to ensure there is justice served to another Malaysian, Teoh Beng Hock himself. That includes Kugan too. In my honest opinion, perfectly sensible. Shall we say that is what 1Malaysia should be all about?

Secondly, I find it strange that somehow somewhere Somebody described the speculations surrounding Teoh’s untimely demise to be motivated by politics. We must be clear about a few things.

Why are people speculating? Probably, there is disbelief among the masses that Teoh had committed suicide. It is hard for the public to stomach the reason that a man with a promising career in politics, a father and husband-to-be (Teoh was supposed to get married soon with his pregnant would be-wife) would be suicidal (bear in mind, that this blog is stating the nature of his death is inconclusive. Hopefully, a Royal Commission of Inquiry would be formed to investigate the nature
of his death).

The information given to the public is just too little. Take for example, the public does not even know who were the interviewing officers etc. etc. When there is too little information, people tend to guess using their own version of logic and perspective. I am not in a position to say it is right nor wrong.

Teoh himself was in the political circle, it is not surprising that his colleagues, particularly the Pakatan MPs would speak about him in public. Even blogs write about Teoh, Malaysians talk about Teoh in coffee shops. Therefore, this issue is no longer simply motivated by politics.

It is a serious issue with social concerns. What else is going through the minds of the public concerning MACC and this incident? MACC is a powerful and important commission. Its positive image and public confidence are important. Malaysians are also concerned with bigger alleged corruption scandals. Are Malaysians concerned about their own security as well? What are the SOPs of MACC? In my opinion, it will be terribly unbelievable if SOPs are not clearly in black-and-white, authorised.

Federal and Selangor State MPs, NGOs irregardless of political affiliation (BN or non-BN) should address and discuss these issues in Parliament.


The Rakyat will prevail….…
By Hussein Hamid

They just do not get it. When you have made a mistake you simply put up your hands and say “ I am sorry. It is my fault” then you try to make amends for whatever it is that you made done wrong. If you are contrite enough you might be forgiven and the people you have wronged might accept you back again into their fold and all will be forgiven.

Then there is the other way of doing things. Deny, deny deny. Go on the offensive straight away and plead innocent of all charges. Bluff your way through with enough bluster, thunderbolt and lighting..very very frightening…. and maybe though all that bluff the person wronged might be persuaded to just go away and accept that life is just not fair.

One of life’s constant memory for me is of Kirk Douglas standing up to proclaim “I’m Spartacus!” to Crassus (who had promised that the others will not be punished if they identify Spartacus or his body) only to be upstaged by Tony Curtis and all the others standing up together to proclaim “I’m Spartacus ! because they were all prepared to sacrifice themselves so that Spartacus could live.

In standing up for our rights and our dignity in our own country we all need to be Spartacus! There are too many of us for PDRM to arrest. Too many of us for them to put under ISA. Too many of us for MACC to question. Too many of us to ignore. But it would still take great courage and determination for us to stand together against the might of Barisan. Even God, it can be argued, favors those with deep pockets and large armies.

These are not difficult days for us. In time to come we will look back and know that these were our greatest days for we are part of that movement that will give our children and our children’s children a secure and decent future in Malaysia.

There are many people on the side of Barisan. They are a coalition of the willing bounded together by their own selfish sense of purpose. Even the oppressed minority within UMNO (those UMNO members who are not yet rich) will always display a unwavering and unquestioning loyalty to UMNO’s in in the hope that they too can get their snout in the trough during feeding time (read General Election time or any by elections along the way !!!!).

So what can we do.

We cannot fight the Police on the streets. In a riot situation the Police are in their elements. They have the discipline the weapons and the technical know how to control and subdued any numbers from our ranks. But we can keep the anger within us and not forget Justice for All, Respect for the rights of each citizen and leaders who are accountable and responsible in the things that they do. We must keep the anger within us my friend so that our Country, our Life, our Justice System, our Government, our Police, our Leaders will become accountable to us. Work for us. Listen to us and will look after us.

We do not have long to wait. The next General Election will put the fear of God into Barisan/UMNO. There will be desertion in droves from within their ranks to join us. If they are rats fleeing a sinking ship, then it will be for us to do what we do to rats fleeing a sinking ship – cut the rope that ties the ship to the berth and let them drown. There will be desperation from within their ranks and attempts to negotiate alliances and establish life lines with Pakatan Rakyat when all else fail for them – we must resists the temptation to do so. No jumping frogs – but we do want an orderly and dignified march to our side.

Do not concern ourselves too much with PDRM, MACC or any Government Ministries – they will take instructions from their political Masters – and after the next GE – we will be their political masters.

So my friends our path is set. Our resolve must be strong and it is only for our Pakatan Rakyat leaders to lead us to the next election and victory.

“Victory at all costs and in spite of all terrors; victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.” Winston Churchill.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 10:36 am

    Like Tony Curtis, all Malaysians should rise up and proclaim, “I’m Teoh Beng Hock!”

  2. #2 by SpeakUp on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 11:12 am

    Change will only come when it is a complete transformation of the various enforcement agencies. The time will come only when they learn to stop watching all those ‘cowboy’ style movies and realise that they will have their gonads strung up when they abuse their authorities.

  3. #3 by SpeakUp on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 11:26 am

    What Ku Li says is true … no use having a RCI when their recommendations are SIDELINED. RCI can be a mere eyewash.

  4. #4 by SpeakUp on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 11:40 am

    Ku Li sums it up so well today. What is the use of a RCI if the recommendations are NOT acted upon? RCI is not a higher authority that is so so credible or impartial. The real importance of the RCI is not to investigate but the recommendations that are made.

    Teoh’s death will be in vain if draconian changes are not implemented.

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 12:33 pm

    //What is the use of a RCI if the recommendations are NOT acted upon?…. The real importance of the RCI is not to investigate but the recommendations that are made.// – SpeakUp

    That’s true, but there’s nothing that could be done if govt. does not act/follow up on RCI’s recommendations.

    We have a situation where MACC cannot be judge of its own cause to investigate its own lache and shortcoming. Neither can the police cast in a long shadow of A Kugan’s case relating to which the culprits have not yet been made accountable. Besides these two institutions – MACC & PDRM – what other body is there left to investigate? There is none. One is left to recourse in general elections. However what’s there from now until then?

    RCI is clamored for because of the absence of alternatives. People think that enough will be disclosed during the highly publicized RCI hearings to inform and galvanise the public/electorate to cast the votes accordingly. Not so much as the effect of recommendations of the RCI, which if the government does not act on, there is nothing RCI commissioners or public could do : but at least there may be value, here and now, in the deliberations of RCI being publicized.

    For example the two previous RCIs on police/Lingam Video Clip have yielded no results in their recommendations being executed by authorities, however no one could say that their highly publicized hearings did not contribute in the reverses suffered by the ruling coalition in last General Elections touted the Malaysian Political Tsunami.

    Then there is this argument that it is govt that determines RCI’s chairman and commissioners : what happens if they are bias?

    One cannot be sure (even if they were perceived bias).

    For example the RCI on Lingam VideoClip.

    Former Chief Judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor headed six-man Royal Commission on Lingam Tape ..

    There were calls that Haidar should decline or withdraw as Chairman in view of his controversial role (as Chief Regisrar assisting CJ Hamid then) in the 1988 Judicial Crisis against the lord President Tun Salleh Abbas & 5 independent supreme Court justices.

    Similar calls were made to Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye then viewed by some as turn coat to being pro establishment after leaving DAP.

    However you would have to agree that there was no public criticism or reproach in respect of the manner by which this Haidar’s RCI had conducted itself on the Lingam Clip or its recommendations. Criticisms were directed to the government for not executing the RCI’s recommendations.

    All things considered, if one thinks the RCI is useless since its recommendations are not executed by powers-that-be, one has to remember that, in the absence of alternatives, RCI is the only option, and though its recommendations may not be followed, its publicized deliberations are of value to help electorate determine the course to vote to keep abusers of power in check in the next GE.

  6. #6 by SpeakUp on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 12:41 pm

    Jeff … you beat me to it. Yes, everyone wants RCI now but when the last was set up the criticisms were great. Panel members were questioned but the manner in which it was conducted was very good. I think Malaysians need to learn to be FAIR and not merely swayed by their political hatred.

    I would love to see the removal of BN in the next GE but then I am sure many will agree, you got all the nonsense within PR that has not been purged. I hope DSAI will not use Teoh’s death to cloak the internal problems. He will be good at that. Opportunist. He sues everyone but not Sukma when there is a lovely confession video on YouTube. Anyone seen that? Its superb, full of details and definitely not under duress.

    PR needs to show they can really manage this nation and that they are really a force to be reckoned with.

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 12:43 pm

    Not to mention the fact that PDRM & MACC are institutions directly under control and orders of the Powers-That-Be. Although RCI commissioners are also appointed by govt. there is a check against too obvious appointment of bias commissioners as then would undermine the legitimacy of the enquiry. Also aside from this, it is the act of appointing a RCI : it is an act, in principle, of the govt submitting to public enquiry, in name of accountability/transparency no matter how one tries to whittle that down by selection of the commissioners. The commissioners too have public reputation to consider plus the fact that other stakeholders (eg Bar Council & victims’ counsels) are allowed to cross examine witnesses under oath.

  8. #8 by SpeakUp on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 12:45 pm

    For me there is too much cloak & dagger when it comes to enforcement officers. They are nut cases. If found to be guilty, stretch their necks … better still, make it slow.

  9. #9 by a2a on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 1:16 pm

    The head of enforcement threaten Malaysian be arrrested if talk about these matter. They will inspect and report.

    Yeah..yeah…there will be a report….

    WHEN? 1 years or 10 years later….hah…..

    Why so affraid Malaysian to talk about these…hah? unless there are things to hid….

  10. #10 by k1980 on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 3:17 pm

    A reminder for all Malaysians:

    They came first for the ungratefuls,
    And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an ungrateful;
    And then they came for the Kogans,
    And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Kogan;
    And then they came for the Teoh Beng Hocks,
    And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Teoh Beng Hock;
    And then… they came for me…
    And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

  11. #11 by YK Leong on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 3:42 pm

    Tan Boon Hwa’s grilling session lasted for 15 hours. Boleh tahan kah??????? Why can’t MACC be accommodating to make a witness more comfortable when giving statement? Can MACC split the 15 hours interrogation into 2 or 3 days? Why is such an urgency? Something is very fishy from the way MACC gets statement from witness. Somewhere down the line there is a truth in a certain plan (for reason best known to MACC). However, this plan backfired with a death occurring.

    Therefore, Teoh Beng Hock must not die in vain.

  12. #12 by Joshua on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 4:09 pm

    MACC faces suit over interview procedures
    ‘Who ordered MACC to launch witch-hunt?’
    Open letter to MACC advisory members
    Cops question DAP rep over Teoh’s death
    ‘Justice for Beng Hock’ goes online
    Sodomy trial: Defence to reply to ‘stay’ application
    Sarawak media ignores pulse of a nation
    Perverse reasons pervert justice in Anwar v PP
    PKR leaders hit out at ‘coup leaders’
    Umno’s war against Malaysia
    Corruption of truth in development
    Democracy and accountability
    BN’s crooked bridges
    1Malaysia for all, all for 1Malaysia
    Najib: All about packaging over performance
    The Arctic: cold place, hot war?
    Fox can’t fix the facts
    Truth in land matters
    An independence day monologue
    Reliving the myth of the lazy natives?
    Reading between the lines: Inspector Singh investigates
    The rape of decency and a society
    Are doctors violating patients’ confidentiality?
    Enter the super-rich bumiputera
    Language switch in science, maths: A step back?
    Failed local government in Indonesia
    Asean rights body ‘lacks bite’
    Straits of Malacca tests Sino-US relations
    I am, you are, we are ‘Malaysian’
    The perfect storm on March 8
    Don’t expect BN to lose big
    Sex, lies and videotape
    An incompetent, not-so-nice guy
    ‘King of Tennis’: PAC finds shortcomings in communication
    What good are laws without values?
    Teoh’s death test of nation’s character
    CCTV must be mandatory for all interrogations
    Disappointing turnout at Kelana Jaya Stadium
    Nazri should have kept his big mouth shut
    Racial rhetoric will destroy country’s potential
    Dr M’s got his priorities all wrong
    Let Teoh Beng Hock be our guiding star
    Pushing aside the probability of suicide
    Murder of our fair country

    The SIFE Malaysia National Competition 2009
    FIRST EVER Short+Sweet Dance Fest opens tomorrow!
    Amber Chia On Google Maps
    Paul Moss Tells a MJ Joke
    Back to Skool (of Rap)
    Soulful Rapture at Istana Budaya
    Zahiril Adzim on Acting
    Leaderonomics Entrepreneur Academy
    Senjyu Sushi
    LUCT Students are Game for Games

    Ceritalah 3: Malaysia A Dream Deferred
    Ceritalah 2: Journeys Through Southeast Asia
    Ceritalah 1: Malaysia In Transition
    Toni Kasim: Many Shades of Good, A Tribute
    Through the Bamboo Window

    – + Adjust font size:
    Cabinet approves royal commission
    Jul 22, 09 3:48pm
    The government today agreed to form a royal commission of inquiry to look into the sudden death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock while under the watch of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission last Thursday.

    The decision to form the royal commission was made at the weekly cabinet meeting today.

    The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

    The inquiry is expected to determine the cause of Teoh’s death.

    pw: holyole abr.hbl

  13. #13 by americangirl on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 4:39 pm

  14. #14 by Jaswant on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 - 6:25 pm

    Time to give space to the Teoh family to grieve. Let it rest. Hands off you politicians. His untimely demise is the result of opposition inaction through the years and failure to stop the abuse of power. In some ways DAP has also contributed to his death.

  15. #15 by Joshua on Thursday, 23 July 2009 - 3:03 am

    Cabinet approves royal commission
    S Pathmawathy | Jul 22, 09 3:48pm
    The cabinet today agreed to set up a royal commission to look into the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigative procedures and to determine if there were any human right violations when Teoh Beng Hock was being interrogated.

    Prime Minister Najib Abul Razak – who chaired the meeting – also revealed that an inquest will be held to determine Teoh’s cause of death.

    The cabinet also instructed the Home Ministry and the police to wrap up its investigations into the matter as soon as possible.

    The findings of the investigation will be made public whereas Najib said he will personally inform the family about it.

    pw: fazing English

  16. #16 by johnnypok on Thursday, 23 July 2009 - 3:19 pm

    Can we believe the C4 with pink lips? Altantuya, TBH and more to come.

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