Great flaw of TBH RCI report – failure to affix responsibility for TBH’s death on MACC despite evidence galore

A great flaw of the Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report is its failure to affix responsibility for Beng Hock’s death 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.

The RCI report only made oblique references to the MACC’s role and responsibility for Beng Hock’s death without going for the jugular to pinpoint directly to MACC’s liability and responsibility.

This is most unsatisfactory and an abdication of responsibility of the TBH RCI on its specific term of reference “to enquire into the death of Teoh Beng Hock and the circumstances surrounding and contributing to his death”.

For instance, 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.

The TBH RCI pinpointed Hishammuddin Hashim as “the seniormost officer who was in overall command of the operation” who was “clearly accountable” for what transpired to TBH at the Selangor MACC – causing his death.

But at present, Hishammuddin has remained scotfree as full-fledged senior MACC officer who has merely been taken off investigation duties when he and other MACC officers should be charged for causing Beng Hock’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.

When there should be condemnatory strictures, the TBH RCI merely observed weakly that instead of “being impartial in assisting us to arrive at the truth of what happened to TBH on that fateful night of the 15th and early morning of the 16th”, MACC took sides with the MACC Counsel Datuk Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah defending the MACC officers called to testify.

The Bar Council, in its submission to the TBH RCI which was made public last Friday, was more direct and straightforward in its criticism of the MACC’s role at the royal commission of inquiry. It said:

“One would have expected the MACC to have led the charge in this inquiry to ascertain the truth and thereby restore its credibility. Instead, it failed to draw a distinction between itself and the officers, and chose to align itself with its officers who may have been involved, responsible and/or privy to the cause of death of Teoh Beng Hock. The absence of separate representation is telling. MACC as a whole chose to defend the actions of its officers rather than assist in the investigation. The MACC adopted the posture of a defendant throughout the course of this inquiry.

“The Commission has had to deal with witnesses primarily from MACC who have either been evasive, misleading and/or lied. It has also been shown that the MACC had suppressed, tampered with and destroyed evidence.

“In the circumstances, it has been a difficult task to piece together the evidence to establish what actually transpired at Plaza Masalam leading to Teoh Beng Hock’s death.”

Why did the TBH RCI shirk from its responsibility to censure the MACC for its role at the RCI which “suppressed, tampered with and destroyed evidence”, frustrating and perverting the course of justice at the TBH RCI to find out the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death?

The Bar Council in its submission said the RCI provided “classic evidence of the saying that an institution is only as good as its people.” It continued:

“ It is important that the officers of MACC tasked with preventing, detecting and eradicating corruption possess the qualities of integrity, independence and intelligence, what may be conveniently referred to as the three “I”s.

“Whilst the Commissioners have recognised that MACC as an institution must be preserved and its image, reputation and functioning enhanced, it must also be recognised that this can only be brought about if the people entrusted with the powers of the institution were brought to task for abuse.”

The TBH RCI has ended without MACC and MACC officers being held to task for their ultimate abuse – causing Beng Hock’s death while under the control, care and custody of MACC!

The Bar Council rightly lamented that the “golden opportunity” was missed by the RCI to examine why the MACC is “world’s apart in terms of repute, public perception and functioning” from Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) – when MACC is supposed to be modelled after the ICAC!

Asking what “a full and thorough investigation” into TBH’s death would reveal, the Bar Council declared that “there is certainly something rotten in the house of MACC”.

Based on the TBH RCI proceedings, the Bar Council recommended that the RCI should make a finding that the MACC and its officers should be held responsible for TBH’s death and that they have also perpetrated a cover up on the causes and circumstances of TBH’s death at the RCI.

If Beng Hock’s death is not to be in vain, both MACC and its officers must be held responsible for his death and cover-up.

Are there any Ministers in the present government who are prepared to ensure that justice is done to Beng Hock and his aggrieved family by re-opening in the Cabinet and the Government the issue of who killed Beng Hock?

  1. #1 by Cinapek on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 12:33 pm

    The RCI, for reasons best known to themselves, are hesitant to clearly point the finger at MACC as being responsible for TBH’s death. And the MACC, offered a lifeline by the RCI, would do anything in their powers to avoid admitting liability in the hope that over time the people would forgive and forget.

    But this cowardly avoidance will not only fail to find justice for TBH but also continue to damage MACC’s credibility. Until the day we find closure, MACC will be mired in this scandal and will continue to struggle to find credibility in whatever they are doing. As if their actions (or the lack of it) has not damaged their reputation enough already, this as yet unsolved case will continue to dog MACC and they will be a lame duck enforcement agency and the butt of ridicule and scorn among the public.

  2. #2 by Cinapek on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 12:51 pm

    These kind of kid glove treatment for enforcement officers found guilty of criminal acts is the main reason why we continue to find such abuse of power. They know they will receive preferential treatment.

    Take the case of the eight Immigration officers who admitted to their guilt to the charges of human trafficking. They were all released from ISA without being charged for any offense or crimes despite commiting crimes described by no less than their ultimate boss the Home Minister as “terrorist activities, firearms smuggling, drugs and espionage…” when they were detained under the ISA last October.

    Hello, aren’t these serious crimes that merits the death penalty in some of those cases? If so why are they just set free without even a trial? All they had to do was to show remorse and they are free to go and perhaps continue with their criminal acts that could kill hundreds if not thousands if the Home Minister is right in his claim?

    And all the Immigration Director-General could say was they had been dismissed from their duties in his defence of the mild punishment meted out. He even went on to defend them by saying

    ” What more do they (the public) want? They have already been detained and arrested under the ISA, they have undergone the legal process. Why should they be arrested again?”

    I hope he is around nearby and one of the victims of a terrorist bombing acts that one of these eight helps to commit. And I hope he has time to reflect on why he supported the decision to let them go off scot free

  3. #3 by k1980 on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 1:06 pm

    The eight Immigration officers who admitted to their guilt to the charges of human trafficking were all released from ISA without being charged for any offense or crimes because they have shown remorse.

    But the 2 policemen found guilty of killing Altan have also shown remorse. Why haven’t they been freed from death row?

    And Canny Ong’s BBQer had also shown remorse. Free him NOW!

  4. #4 by k1980 on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 1:09 pm

    I am sure all the prisoners in jails nationwide have shown remorse, or at the very least, expressed remorse for their grisly crimes. FREE them all now, Minister of Home Affairs Hishamuddin!

  5. #5 by bush on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 1:24 pm

    RCI report is for “R”

    If the goverment not doing a fair job then is there someone can get it right?

    Why those “R” keep quite on the report given to him?

  6. #6 by country for good malaysian on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 2:39 pm

    For MACC to get the trust of the Rakyat it must come out clean from such tragedy.
    MACC cannot be seen siding with its staff.
    As an institution, MACC must uphold justice for the public. MACC is not there just to punish the public. In order to uphold justice MACC must ensure its own house is clean from head to toes. All bad staff must be wiped out in order for trust to be restored. For otherwise, MACC is nothing but a slogan.

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