Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the DAP Taman Housing Trust dinner/ceramah at Sun Lee How Fook Restaurant, Ipoh on Sunday, 24th July 2011 at 9pm:
TBH suicide/homicide? – challenge to Nazri to defend his stand
In his interview with Mingguan Malaysia today, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said that the Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) case is closed and that there is no need to form another Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) because the Teoh family and the opposition had rejected the suicide conclusion of the James Foong Royal Commission of Inquiry.
The Malaysian Insider report today on Nazri’s interview with Mingguan Malaysia stated:
“He however added that although the MACC needs to revamp itself, the RCI had absolved it of murder charges and this should not be questioned further.
“I find that the truth has been revealed and it has been proven that the MACC did not kill Teoh. This is clear and MACC has been freed from the charge. Despite what has happened, I am confident that the people will continue to support the MACC,” he said.
“Nazri also denied that the RCI report had been made public due to public pressure, pointing out that he had prepared a memorandum on July 1 to ensure that that the report is released in full.
“He also agreed with accusations against opposition party members like Lim Kit Siang, Gobind Singh Deo and Karpal Singh that Teoh’s death had been heavily politicised.
“So whatever the outcome of the RCI, they will not accept. Look at what Lim Kit Siang said — that forced suicide equals to homicide... where he learned this law, it’s too remote.
“To prove murder, there must be mens rea (intention) and actus reas (action)... in Teoh’s case, where was the mens rea?’ said Nazri.”
It would appear that Nazri had not read and studied the James Foong RCI report careful enough for there is nothing in the report “absolving” the MACC and MACC officers of Beng Hock’s death at the MACC headquarters at Shah Alam on July 16, 2009.
Can Nazri quote the RCI report to show where it had “absolved” MACC of responsibility for Beng Hock’s death?
In fact, I can quote two passages where the RCI held MACC officers directly and specifically responsible for Beng Hock’s death.
Firstly, Paragraph 198 when expressing “grave reservations” over the evidence of one MACC officer Raymond Nion anak John Timban who had testified that he saw Beng Hock at 6 am on the fateful morning of 16th July 2009 “lying on the sofa outside Nadzri’s room”, the TBH RCI said:
“In our opinion, he was not a reliable witness and was used by those responsible for TBN’s death to distance them from their wrongdoings by creating an impression that TBH was not only alive at 6am on the 16th but was also resting comfortably and peacefully on the sofa outside Nadzri’s room.”
In Para 201, the TBH RCI said:
“ As it become obvious to us that Raymond’s evidence was tailored to fit certain objectives which in this case dovetailed those of the MACC officers responsible for TBH’s death, we rejected his evidence as being unworthy of any weight or consideration in respect of the time he claimed to have seen TBH at 6am on the 16th.”
How can Nazri jump to the conclusion that the TBH RCI had absolved MACC of responsibility for Beng Hock’s death when it specifically in Paras 198 and 201 pinpointed on “MACC officers responsible for TBH’s death” (words used by TBH RCI)?
Any reasonable person who read the “horror stories” of the lawlessness and heinous criminalities rampant in MACC particularly in Selangor, as described by the TBH RCI report, can only arrive at the conclusion without having to rely on Paras 198 and 201 - which I quoted - that several MACC officers must be held responsible for TBH’s death.
Yes, the TBH RCI did not specifically name the MACC officers responsible for TBH’s death (although their identities are quite obvious to anyone reading the RCI report) but how can Nazri claim that MACC had been “absolved” of responsibility for Beng Hock’s death when the TBH RCI had openly and directly pinpointed “MACC officers” as responsible for the death?
I would advise Nazri to re-read the TBH RCI report carefully.
I reject Nazri’s allegation that DAP had “heavily” politicised TBH’s death.
I only need refer Nazri to what the TBH RCI reiterated that “custodial death is perhaps one of the worst crimes in a civilized society governed by the rule of law” and not to downplay the gravity of custodial deaths whether the Teoh Beng Hock case or the tragic second MACC custodial death - customs officer Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamad at the MACC KL premises in April 2011.
The battle seeking justice for Beng Hock, Ahmad Sarbani or other cases of unwarranted death caused by negligence or abuse of power by legal enforcement authorities such as 14-year-old Aminul Rashid or A. Kugan is a battle for the most important of all human rights – the right to life – and there should be no attempt by anyone let alone a Cabinet Minister to downplay its importance or try to escape responsibility with the canard that it is being “politicized”!
Nazri asked where I learned my law in asserting that “forced suicide equals to homicide”. Let me ask Nazri where he learn his law that there is such a thing as “forced suicide”.
This is the TBH RCI finding:
“119. Having considered all the evidence in its entirety, we found that TBH was driven to commit suicide by the aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation to which he was subjected by certain officers of the MACC who were involved in the ongoing operation by the Selangor MACC on the night of the 15th and into the morning of the 16th.”
Is this a simple and straightforward “suicide”, forced suicide or homicide, especially taking in account the “horror stories” in the TBH RCI about rank lawlessness and heinous criminalities rampant with MACC officers involved in the TBH interrogation?
Ask right-thinking Malaysians, and the answer is a thunderous “homicide”!
Nazri said: “To prove murder, there must be mens rea (intention) and actus reas (action)... in Teoh’s case, where was the mens rea?”
This reminds me of the conviction of the two “hooded accused”, who were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bodyguards, Unit Tindakan Khas Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar - found guilty of the C4 murder of Mongolian Altatunya Shariibuu in October 2006 and sentenced to death by hanging.
Thinking Malaysians have been asking: what was the motive for the C4 murder of Altantunya by Azilah andf Sirul, raising many other questions such as who is the real mastermind for the nefarious C4 murder and why the mastermind is still “at large” - but that is another subject altogether.
The Bar Council has rejected the TBH RCI finding of suicide as the cause of TBH death, demanding that the authorities should investigate the MACC officers for possible offences under Sections 304 and 304a of the Penal Code, for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and for causing the death of Teoh by negligence, respectively.
The Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) agrees that MACC and its officials must be held responsible and has called on the federal government “to take very seriously these findings and to take the immediate appropriate action necessary so as to send a message to all enforcement and investigating agencies that a person in their custody is their utmost responsibility”.
I challenge Nazri to defend his clearly wrong and misguided stand that MACC and its officers are “absolved” from all responsibility for Beng Hock’s death as it was suicide and not homicide by MACC officers.
I invite him to come the public forum at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Tuesday night (26th July 2011) 7.30 pm entitled: “Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission Inquiry Report – Where is the promised truth?” to defend and justify his stand.
The public forum, organized by DAP, is to seek justice for Teoh Beng Hock and his family and will have speakers from various political parties, NGOs and the Teoh family.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor