Media Comment by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 19th November 2009:
Teoh Beng Hock would not have died if MACC had followed the law
DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock would not have died if the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had followed the law.
This is the immediate reaction not only of family members of Beng Hock, DAP and Pakatan Rakyat, but all Malaysians following the landmark decision by the Kuala Lumpur High Court today which ruled that the MACC is not entitled to interrogate witnesses late at night beyond normal office hours, from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Justice Mohd Ariff Md Yusof ruled that it was illegal for the MACC to question its witnesses at night as such questioning must be done during the daytime.
"The term day to day as stipulated in the MACC Act cannot mean round the clock."
This landmark decision is the result of the suit filed by Kajang Councillor Tan Boon Hwa who was falsely imprisoned together with Teoh Beng Hock on July 15 and 16 at the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam, with the case argued by DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Glugor Karpal Singh.
This is an added reason why the MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan should resign, in allowing MACC to become a Frankenstein as to cause Teoh Beng Hockís unnecessary death in a campaign not to declare war against corruption but against Pakatan Rakyat to serve Umno/BN political agenda.
It was only two days ago I had called for Ahmad Saidís resignation as MACC chief following Malaysiaís worst Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranking and score for the past 15 years in the Transparency International CPI 2009, making Malaysia the worst performer in Asia in anti-corruption in the past 15 years.
Karpal has informed me that the judgment covers not only MACC but all law enforcement agencies, including the police, that all witnesses should be treated fairly and lawfully and not as criminals.
For a start, the MACC, police and all law enforcement agencies must immediately revise their Standing Operating Procedures so as not to run afoul of the Mohd Ariff judgment in the Tan Boon Hwa case.
MACC must cease immediately all unlawful activities in questioning witnesses beyond normal office hours.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor