RCI into TBH’s mysterious death fulfilled only one of three criteria needed to fully satisfy public demands for a credible, high-level, wide-ranging and no-holds-barred probe

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh Beng Hock’s mysterious death fulfilled only one of three criteria needed to fully satisfy public demands for a credible, high-level, wide-ranging and no-holds-barred probe.

I had yesterday given the instant comment that the Royal Commission of Inquiry announced by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is “a step in the right direction” as it has an expanded scope to investigate into the cause of Teoh’s death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters at Shah Alam on July 16, 2009 – as Najib had earlier announced with full public support by the MCA President Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek that the RCI is only tasked with investigating MACC’s “investigation procedures” but specifically excluded from probing into the cause of Teoh’s death.

It was this limitation of the RCI from further probing into the “Open Verdict” of the Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas in Teoh’s inquest excluding suicide as the cause of Teoh’s death and the important finding of Teoh’s pre-fall neck injury, which had caused nation-wide consternation and outrage – further compounded by the refusal of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail to give public accounting whether he was seeking to revise the Coroner’s “Open Verdict” to reject the finding excluding Teoh’s death as caused by suicide!

If Gani Patail had not wanted to revise the Coroner’s “Open Verdict” by striking out its finding excluding suicide as the cause of Teoh’s death, why didn’t the Attorney-General immediately exercised his powers and duties under Section 339(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code to take action and direct the police to initiate investigations against those MACC officers who must be held responsible for Teoh’s prefall neck injury and to get to the bottom of the truth about the relationship of Teoh’s prefall injury to his death?

While the RCI’s terms of reference now cover the cause of Teoh’s death, it scope has been narrowed from that originally announced by Najib in July 2009.

As announced yesterday, the RCI’s terms of reference are to enquire “whether or not there was any impropriety in the MACC’s conduct during the examination of Teoh in 2009; and to enquire into the death of Teoh and the circumstances surrounding and contributing to his death”.

This scope of inquiry into the MACC’s investigation methods solely confined to Teoh is much narrower and restricted than that announced by Najib in July 2009 – “which is to scrutinize and study the procedures related to interrogations that are used by the MACC”, including “identifying if there were any violations of human rights during Teoh’s interrogation”.

What Najib announced in July 2009 is a wide-ranging inquiry into the MACC’s investigations whether torture, physical violence, violation of human rights had been perpetrated against those who fell into the hands of the MACC since it started operation in January 2009 and not just confined to Teoh.

This is very clear from Najib’s Q & A in his media conference on July 22, 2009:

“Q. What will the Commission investigate?

“A. It will be on the (MACC’s) procedures relating to its investigation, not the investigation on Teoh’s death and the normal investigations conducted by the MACC.”

Malaysians had been promised that there would be a full public scrutiny of the MACC’s investigation methods because of numerous serious allegations of torture and physical violence perpetrated by MACC officers.

Is the narrowing of the RCI terms of reference from a full public inquiry into MACC investigation techniques not confined to Teoh’s case a quid pro quo to secure MACC agreement in exchange for broadening the RCI’s scope to cover Teoh’s cause of death?

I had stressed three criteria for any RCI into Teoh’s death to command full public confidence – its terms of reference, scope of investigations and membership.

It is also regrettable that the Prime Minister had not fully consulted the Teoh family – as he had earlier promised to meet with Teoh’s family after the Coroner’s inquest – or the civil society on the most suitable candidates who should be appointed as Commissioners of the RCI.

It is no exaggeration to say that as a whole, the composition of the six members of the RCI into Teoh’s death does not inspire full public confidence.

The question is why Najib is not prepared to consider the nominees suggested by Teoh’s family and civil society if the Prime Minister is fully committed to “leave no stone unturned” to get to the bottom of Teoh’s mysterious death at the MACC headquarters on July 16, 2009?

At this late stage, is the Prime Minister prepared to consult with the Teoh family and the civil society to appoint their nominees as Commissioners so that the RCI into Teoh’s death could start off with proper public confidence and trust in the inquiry?

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Thursday, 27 January 2011 - 2:46 pm

    Najib was willing to include coverage of the cause of Teoh’s death in the proposed RCI because of the Tenang by-election.

    I bet with my last sen; without the Tenang by-election, Najib would not bother to relook at the RCI.

  2. #2 by dagen on Thursday, 27 January 2011 - 2:52 pm

    Some stones will not be turned because they cannot be turned. They are either too large and too heavy or are plain stuck to the ground. These stones are not movable in the first place. So nothing can be hidden under them.

    There jib. Use this logic to explain why not all stones will be turned.

  3. #3 by malignant on Thursday, 27 January 2011 - 3:38 pm

    our PM can even recruit the world leaders in the RCI but i can bet with my last ringgit, this case will not be solved. it is well covered not to be revealed with the true truth! it is only the deceased and the killer/killers will know.
    RCI? is a joke!

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Thursday, 27 January 2011 - 4:30 pm

    #3, I agree with you. I think it will end up like the Lingam Tape RCI.

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Thursday, 27 January 2011 - 5:42 pm

    Is the former head Ahmad said Hamdan not subject to interrogation?After all, he ought to be the first top guy to get the detail or report of the Teoh’s mysterious death.How can he just walk out when he the top man in charge of macc dogs.

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Thursday, 27 January 2011 - 6:42 pm

    Don’t hv hope on dis sort of hopeless RCI, just a buy erection bluff 2 tipu some voters
    Correct, correct, correct, show n play play only, C where Lingam is after RCI

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 27 January 2011 - 11:11 pm

    Well at least Najib fulfills the most important primary requirement of TBH’s family – to look into cause of TBH’s death as he promised. (Better late than never).

    I don’t think it’s a big deal that quid pro quo or otherwise the other aspect – a full public inquiry into MACC investigation techniques and protocols vis-à-vis human rights violation – is now dropped. Anyway, the enquiry into cause of TBH’s death will inevitably bring into enquiry of MACC investigation techniques and protocols in relation to his death.

    It is already a significant concession on govt’s part to the pressure of public opinion to change of the Commission’s terms as to include cause of death. It implies that either its own police investigations have not done sufficient or that it cannot require them to do a better job…. One recalls Perkasa is against the establishment of the Commission in the first place let alone widening its terms of reference to include cause of TBH’s death as specifically required by his family. And Perkasa could make the PM back track on the NEM to include once again the NEP but could not pressure him to drop the RCI’s enquiring into cause of death!

    Even though it is govt’s prerogative to appoint and select Commissioners, yet from the standpoint of convincing public opinion of the independence of the enquiry it could have done very much better if it had, for example, earlier consulted and taken some of the suggestions of civil society stakeholders. Disappointingly none of the suggested candidates by Civil society groups (120 NGOs) galvanised by The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall pressuring for enquiry into the events leading to TBH’s death has been appointed!

    The initial commission appointed by the Yang di Pertuan Agong on advice of PM/cabinet could well be expanded beyond 5 to include some names suggested by Civil society groups.

    Besides composition of RCI’s commissioners, the other important aspect is the protocols for conduct of the RCI. Besides counsels for TBH’s family & the Bar Council who are the other stakeholders whose representatives are allowed to participate in this enquiry??? Will, for examples, representatives of Human Rights Commission Amnesty International Malaysia or Malaysian Medical Council be allowed to participate?

    Digressing, it is important for State govt – particularly Selangor’s – to note that under the Commissions of Enquiry Act, the State Govt itself (other than Sabah or Sarawak) may also appoint a commission of its own on restricted matters concerning the conduct of any State officer, the conduct or management of any department of the public service of that State, the conduct or management of any public institution which
    is solely maintained by State funds; or any other matter in which an enquiry would, in the opinion of the State Authority, be for the public welfare of the State and which does not directly concern the public welfare of any other State! [One example perhaps maybe the conduct of State Secretary foisted upon it, if there’s really something in his conduct important to enquire into, in terms of the Act].

  8. #8 by monsterball on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 7:00 am

    Look at the 6 Royal Commissioners chosen for Teoh Beng Hock’s case.
    Three are die hard pro UMNO B party members and one sitting on the fence with two that may actually judge based on fact and laws.
    To me it is another window dressing act to please voters with the verdict to defend MACC.
    It is another show case arranged and I do not think Najib is that smart to choose the lop sided panel…to vindicate MACC.
    It is the usual UMNO B useless side show to win trust and confidence from voters…making suckers of everyone…ignoring the well educated know it too well.
    It is always trying to fool the vast majority less educated voters.
    However more and more ordinary wage earners can think and understand…and UMNO B political tricks are getting stale and boring.

  9. #9 by k1980 on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 9:00 am


    If only the rakyat are as forceful in hunting down the killers of TBH as they are in finding this poodle’s abusers

  10. #10 by undertaker888 on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 12:21 pm

    …2 are appointed to investigate, the other 4 are there to subjugate the truth. that is all there is to this inquiry. we want these people in the inquiry.

    1) Deo Singh
    2) Robert Phang
    3) Zaid Ibrahim
    4) Koh Tsu Koon (just to make a fool of himself and reveal what he truly is)
    5) RPK
    6) Lim Kit Siang

    jib..do you dare? your bola will be shrinking by 2 thirds.

  11. #11 by monsterball on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 1:00 pm

    And the Judge acquitted policeman on Kugan’s case.
    This means no one kill him….or go to hell with Indian votes.

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 6:15 pm

    Ai yah mak, no hear of suicide, self-strangulation, self-jumping deaths meh in Msia
    CSL, SV n KTK n their members all accepted such deaths as natural deaths, no case 1 lah

  13. #13 by tak tahan on Saturday, 29 January 2011 - 10:36 pm

    Ar..yo undertaker888,do not use so vulgar words 1,we are all polite people ma.By 2 thirds cannot ngang already 1 you know?Oops..due to the symptom from your influence on me struck again

  14. #14 by good coolie on Tuesday, 1 February 2011 - 5:37 pm

    Half a loaf of bread is better than none! Let us get into the habit of sending our government agencies to the Inquisition. Since the general election is imminent, the ante should be upped, and the Government further pressured. Other than the death of Bro. Teoh, we have that of Bro Kugen, and that of the teenage joy-rider (I forget that brother’s name).

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