Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Ipoh on Sunday, 19th July 2009 at 11.30 am:
Najib should emulate his father Tun Razak and appoint a new IGP still with four or five years of service brimming with ideas to plan out and implement police reforms instead of current practice of appointing senior police officers left with one or two years’ service more interested about post-retirement arrangements
Yesterday morning, I sent an urgent fax to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak asking for a meeting at the first available opportunity on his return from overseas over the unusual plunge to death of Teoh Beng Hock, political secretary to DAP Selangor State Exco and Seri Kembangan Assemblyman, Ean Yong Hian Wah from the 11th floor of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Thursday.
I made clear in my fax that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss Teoh’s unusual death in MACC custody which has created nation-wide anger and outrage from Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political affiliation apart from a handful of top MCA, Gerakan, MIC and UMNO leaders.
If I meet Najib on his return from overseas, I will impress on him that the MACC after six months of creation is on trial, the police is on trial and most important of all, Najib’s premiership is on trial in their handling of Teoh’s unusual death and public anger as to how a healthy, vibrant and idealistic young political worker could enter the MACC hqrs as a witness in its investigation only to end up as a corpse in a plunge from the 14th floor of the building.
I am prepared to meet Najib even at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) when he returns from abroad tomorrow.
If Najib agrees to meet, I will ask the Parliamentary Opposition Leader and Parti Keadilan Rakyat Malaysia Ketua Umum Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang to come along to impress on Najib why for the sake of the credibility of MACC and his premiership, there is no option but for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh Beng Hock’s unusual death from plunge from 14th> floor of MACC hqrs.
Public confidence in the Cabinet is not enhanced by the schizophrenic and self-serving reactions given by Ministers to Teoh Beng Hock’s death.
I was impressed yesterday that the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was moving away from his earlier dismissal of calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh Beng Hock’s death when he said yesterday that requests for a Royal Commission of Inquiry would be discussed in the next Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
But what is most disappointing are the public positions taken by two Cabinet Ministers, one by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the other by the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.
After keeping a thunderous silence on Thursday and Friday, Ong has come out with a wishy-washy position that the Cabinet will “explore” whether there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh’s death.
What is there to “explore”? What the public want is that Ong and the three other MCA Ministers, as well as Gerakan President, Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon should take a firm stand in Cabinet that a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh’s death should be set up – and that there is no two ways about it.
If on Teoh’s death, Ong and his team of four MCA Ministers and Koh cannot convince the Cabinet to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry, what is the use of their remaining in the Cabinet?
Such a firm and uncompromising stand must be taken after the shocking statement by Hishammuddin yesterday, who said that the establishment of a royal commission to investigate Teoh’s death should not be done hastily as police investigation into the case was still at the preliminary stage.
Are the MCA and Gerakan Ministers prepared to speak the truth in the Cabinet on Wednesday and convey the total lack of confidence of Malaysians from all racial and religious groups in any political investigation into high-profile cases of deaths in custody – after the outrageous case of Anwar’s “black-eye” scandal while in police custody in 1998, when the police accused Anwar of “self-inflicted” “black-eye” wounds?
Muhyiddin was misleading the public when he said that only the Cabinet can decide on whether there could be public independent inquiry into Teoh’s death.
The Prime Minister has the power to make such a decision and make an announcement even before a Cabinet meeting – which was what former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did on Monday, 28th November 2005 on touch-down at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Subang when he returned from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta, announcing an independent public inquiry into the nude ear-squat police scandal ahead of any Cabinet meeting!
Is Najib going to be even less decisive than his predecessor, Abdullah on the need for an independent public inquiry into scandals involving key enforcement agencies like the Police or MACC, which go to the root of public confidence in the credibility, legitimacy and integrity of the entire administration and his premiership?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor