RCI to re-examine ‘suicide’ note

By Teoh El Sen | May 18, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The “suicide” note purportedly written by Teoh Beng Hock would be re-examined to extract and decipher a few words that were blacked out by someone, perhaps even the author.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry investigating Teoh’s death was re-convened briefly this morning to decide on the application made by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to re-analyse the note.

Shafee’s application made via a letter last week (May 11) had asked the commission to ascertain what was written beneath an erased part of the note and subsequently admit that as evidence.

Commission chairman James Foong today said the royal panel had unanimously allowed the application, ordering for the note to be sent to the chemistry department to extract the part that was scratched out or cancelled.

“Then, if it is legible and written in any other language besides Bahasa Malaysia, it will be translated by an official interpreter and tendered to the commission,” he said, adding that it should be done expeditiously.

Shafee had earlier told the commission: “When one looks at the suicide note, we would be able to read what was very vigorously erased by the writer. It would be interesting for us to analyse and to understand the thinking of the writer, (so) we ought to know what he erased as well.”

The lawyer also said that he did not require an expert to find out if the same person had erased the words, as it was enough to infer that it was, and his arguments would be included in his submissions.

‘Step-by-step recap’

Shafee said the note, written in Mandarin, went held against the light, revealed that the deleted words could have been, according to a translator, “Saya telah menyusahkan kamu.” (I have caused you trouble).

Beneath the cancelled words, the author had also penned: “Akibatnya telah menyusahkan kamu.” (Therefore, I have caused you trouble).

Speaking to reporters outside the court later, Shafee said that the importance of scientifically extracting the cancelled part was to show that the author of the “suicide” note was still thinking clearly.

“To me, assuming this was a suicide note, he had not lost his bearings. In spite of wanting to commit suicide, he didn’t want to look bad even in death. He wanted to justify to his boss that he tried his best,” he said.

“He did not want to say ‘I’ caused trouble, but instead substituted it with ‘therefore’ as he did not want his boss to think he was the one who caused all this trouble,” he said.

Shafee said the exercise was important to show a “step-by-step” and “minute-by-minute” recap of what went through the writer’s mind.

Shafee also said based on the way the note was written, there was strong reason to believe it might have been written on two separate occasions, perhaps one closely after the other.

He added that the note would also show that Teoh was not tortured. “If I was Beng Hock, and I was tortured that would be my biggest complaint and I would like my boss to know. But he didn’t say this at all in the note.”

Timing not important

Shafee said that it was unimportant when the note was discovered (it was allegedly found by the investigating officer several months after Teoh’s death and emerged in the inquest almost a year later).

“We’re not talking about a pen we found on him with his DNA. It’s his writing and we have experts proving that. Who cares if it comes out three months or one year later?”

However, Shafee admitted that it was carelessness on the part of the investigating officer for not finding the note earlier.

“But we always have carelessness, even in the OJ Simpson murder trial. But that doesn’t mean justice is not done. I took up this case because I believe it was suicide.

“I tried hard to find out if it was a suicide, but there had been zero evidence that someone could have taken him to the window,” he said.

Shafee said MACC did not stand to benefit from his death, but “somebody else” did.

The commission, which had earlier ended its proceedings on May 10, was scheduled to receive submissions by May 25 and to send in a report to the King by June 25.

  1. #1 by drngsc on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 - 2:56 pm

    How ridiculous.
    This TBH’s death has been dragged far and long enough.

    THERE IS NO SUICIDE. Ask any medical doctor. He died while in MACC custody.

    Mr Shafee, from what you said, I can only surmise that you are – 1, you are crazy with a very fertile imagination, bothering on fantasy, or 2, you are an agent of the perpertrators of the crime, looking for a good cover-up, and prolonging the agony of the family.
    This circus has gone on long enough. A young man, well, of sound mind, waiting to get marruied, walks into MACC voluntarily, for questioning. He was cooperative. Obviously his honest answers was not what MACC wanted to hear, so they grilled him, abuse him, and threatened him. When they still could not break him ( because he was all the time telling the truth ), they …………………. him out the window.

    Shafee, he want into MACC’s house alive and well ( mentally and physically ), and he never made it out alive. What do you call that?

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 - 2:59 pm

    Their excuse for not pursuing other people is based on a “writing expert” and a piece of note?

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 - 3:54 pm

    One can’t use words like “therefore, I have caused you trouble” that had been tampered/erased as evidence. In first place someone else might have written it and then subsequently erased it. It couyldn’t reflect TBH’s state of mind then. But even if it were written by TBH how do these words of regret by themselves reflect any suicidal thoughts? Even if one argues that they did, then why did TBH erase it if he were suicidal? And why did anyone else other than TBH want to erase those words? Whats purpose of this entire exercise except to muddy the waters and create some doubt that it could have been a suicide?

  4. #4 by k1980 on Thursday, 19 May 2011 - 3:42 am

    //The “suicide” note purportedly written by TBH would be re-examined to extract and decipher a few words that were blacked out by someone, perhaps even the author.//

    Why go through all the trouble again? Here, I will write for you a new “suicide” note, written by TBH and witnessed and duly stamped by 2 lawyers and a commissioner of oaths, before he jumped. Just pay me RM100,000 and I will fax it to you pronto

  5. #5 by AliAhKongAnup on Thursday, 19 May 2011 - 4:08 am

    shafee asking for re-examining of the note is a red herring. those close to TBH ascertained the handwriting wasn’t his. aint gonna matter what the note said, strike our or not. and shafee, why would someone being tortured write “i am being tortured” on the note, u dumbwit?

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