Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 19th January 2011:
Najib cannot be more wrong. Tenang is about future of Malaysia – no more Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan, Aminurasyid, Krishnan & unaccounted deaths
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Tenang yesterday that he also want to know the real truth of Teoh Beng Hock’s death.
If so, it is not too late for him to meet the demands of Teoh Beng Hock’s family and the overwhelming majority of Malaysians who want to see that justice is not only done but seen to be done by setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe further into the Coroner’s finding of Teoh Beng Hock’s prefall neck injury.
The Teoh Beng Hock RCI should be a meaningful and high-powered one comprising independent and credible members with the widest terms of reference to ferret out the truth of Teoh’s death and a commitment that the government will accept and implement its findings unlike the Lingam Videotape RCI.
Although Najib pledged his commitment “to unravel the mystery” behind Teoh’s death in Tenang yesterday, and that “we have ways to find out the truth”, government actions in the past 18 months since Teoh’s tragic and outrageous death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009, where he had gone voluntarily to give his co-operation to the MACC as a witness and not as a suspect, had not inspired confidence that the Prime Minister would “leave no stone unturned” to uncover the whole truth about Teoh’s death.
Malaysians will not forget the contempt with which the then MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said had dismissed Teoh’s death at the MACC when he said:
“Teoh Beng Hock’s case is nothing. It is a very small case. We have handled much bigger cases.’’
It would appear that Teoh’s death, like the many other cases of suspicious deaths in official custody or involving official personnel, whether A. Kugan, Aminurasyid Amzah or the latest case of custodial death M. Krishnan, continue to be regarded as “small cases” when they should be given the most serious attention as they involve the loss of precious human lives.
Immediately after the Coroner’s finding of “Open Verdict” on January 5 into the inquest of Teoh Beng Hock’s mysterious death at the MACC Hqrs, ruling out “suicide” and its finding of Teoh’s prefall neck injury, I had called on the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to ensure that Teoh’s death does not end up as a “heinous crime without criminals” and for proper closure for the grieving Teoh Beng Hock family and the larger Malaysian people.
This is why the establishment of a RCI confined to the investigation procedures of MACC instead of probing further into the Coroner’s finding of Teoh’s pre-fall neck injury to establish the cause of Teoh’s death is unsatisfactory and unacceptable.
The Prime Minister has announced that the Attorney-General is seeking a revision of the “Open Verdict” of the Teoh Beng Hock inquest but is silent as to purpose of the Attorney-General’s application – whether to support Teoh Beng Hock’s family to revise the inquest finding from one of “Open Verdict” to one of “Death by Homicide” or to revise the Coroner’s “Open Verdict” to “Death by Suicide”.
In the circumstances, how can Najib’s assurance in Tenang that he also wants to uncover the whole truth of Teoh’s death to have any credibility, especially when he went on to say:
“This (by-election) is bigger than Teoh Beng Hock, this is about the future of Malaysia, the future of all of us, the future of our next generation.”
Najib cannot be more wrong. It is precisely because the Tenang by-election is “about the future of Malaysia, the future of all of us, the future of our next generation” that it is also about Teoh Beng Hock, to ensure that there should not be another Teoh Beng Hock tragedy in the country and to end the list of mysterious, outrageous and unaccounted deaths in official custody or involving official personnel – whether A. Kugan, Aminurasyid Amzah or M. Krishnan.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor