[Malaysian Insider] Teoh family wants say in Royal Commission of Inquiry
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — The Teoh family wants to have a say in the royal commission of inquiry’s (RCI) scope of investigation and has urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to meet them before he goes ahead with its set-up.
The Malaysian Insider had earlier today reported the PM was set to honour his pledge to the family and announce an RCI into Teoh Beng Hock’s death by next week.
A government official, who asked not to be named, had disclosed that Najib and key Cabinet members had met Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail after the coroner returned an open verdict in Teoh’s inquest yesterday.
The coroner had ruled out suicide and homicide despite accepting that Teoh had sustained injuries to his neck before his fatal plunge.
The decision meant the coroner could not conclusively say how Teoh died after more than a year of courtroom drama with testimonies from 37 witnesses — including 12 experts — in the inquest to determine how the 30-year-old was found dead on a fifth-floor service corridor at Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009.
Teoh, who was political secretary to a Selangor executive councillor, had been taken in the night before and interrogated by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officials — housed on the 14th floor of the same building — over claims his boss misused state funds.
The Teoh family has been pushing for an RCI since Beng Hock died.
But Lee Lan, Beng Hock’s youngest sister, sounded more worried than glad when contacted for comment.
“I'm worried that if the PM announces the RCI without talking to us first, it's just going to be like the inquest. We won't get the answer,” she told The Malaysian Insider over the phone today.
“I'm worried because people have been telling me that the RCI will just investigate the procedures by the MACC. That's not the one that we want,” she added.
“We want an independent RCI that will investigate thoroughly, including the cause of death. We want further investigations on who caused the pre-fall injuries to Beng Hock.
“ASP Ahmad Nazri said he did not have instructions from the A-G to investigate. Why did the A-G not give instructions to the police to investigate? And why should the police wait for instruction from A-G to investigate?
“We want answers,” Lee Lan stressed.
She said family was convinced Teoh did not commit suicide from the first day.
She said they had been vindicated by the coroner who ruled to dismiss a mystery handwritten note tendered as evidence half-way into the inquest and attributed to be penned by Teoh.
“There's definitely no suicide note and the pre-fall injuries has told us that there must be someone responsible for the death,” she said.
Lee Lan, 30, was upset by newspapers reports citing Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz as asking the family to accept the open verdict.
“Can he accept his family members die in vain?” she shot back.
Lee Lan, who is working in an accounting firm here, said Najib should prove he was “sincere” and arrange to meet the family first to understand why they were upset.
“My mother is very stressed. She keeps on saying ‘Why no answer? Why is no one responsible for his death?’
“Why did we accept to have an inquest first instead of the RCI?
“Because we believed our prime minister.
“He promised us from the first day he will give us the truth. He said he will leave no stone unturned,” she said, recollecting Najib’s words at a meeting in Putrajaya on July 28, 2009.
“If the commission is to be set up, we also want to have a say on the members who will sit on it,” Lee Lan said.
“In the meantime, we will file our motion to the Shah Alam High Court for a revision of the open verdict,” she said, ending the interview.
Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, who together with his father Karpal Singh are still acting for the family, said he would comment only after the RCI was properly announced.
“As far as we are concerned, it’s still too early to comment. The family has been pushing for the RCI but we need to see the scope, the terms and conditions first,” he told The Malaysian Insider today.
Taken from The Malaysian Insider.