KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — A senior anti-graft officer has denied forcing Teoh Beng Hock to sit on a window ledge in his previous office to scare him, the royal panel investigating Teoh’s death heard today.
Former Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy director Hishamuddin Hashim also denied interrogating Teoh by blindfolding the DAP aide or shaking him by holding his belt.
“You took Teoh Beng Hock and forced him to sit on the ledge to scare him. Did you do that?” asked Bar Council lawyer Edmund Bon at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI).
“Your Honour, that’s not true at all,” replied Hishamuddin, who is currently the Negri Sembilan MACC director.
“I say to you that on that night, one of the interrogation techniques was to hold on to Teoh Beng Hock’s belt and shake him to scare him into giving you your desired testimony,” said Bon.
“That’s not true. It’s an assumption and slander,” said Hishamuddin, 46, adding that he never interrogated Teoh.
Teoh’s body was found on the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009 after he was questioned overnight by MACC officers at their then-Selangor headquarters on the 14th floor.
The anti-graft officers were investigating a claim that Teoh’s boss, Ean Yong Hian Wah, was abusing state funds.
Ean Yong is a Selangor state executive councillor and Seri Kembangan assemblyman from the DAP.
Bar Council lawyer Cheow Wee said last Thursday that a poison-pen letter had accused Hishamuddin of using force during interrogations.
Cheow said the letter alleged that Hishamuddin had a “trademark technique” when interrogating witnesses, which was by holding their belt from the front and shaking them.
Hishamuddin, who has served the national anti-graft body for 19 years, denied the allegation, calling it slanderous.
Bon also suggested today that Hishamuddin had blindfolded Teoh, taken the 30-year-old political secretary to a high place and threatened to push him.
The curly-haired senior officer denied it, saying: “We are humane. He is an important witness who needs to be taken care of to assist investigations.”
“There was a police report against the Selangor MACC deputy director where you ordered an officer to blindfold a witness and hit him,” said Bon.
“Not true and I don’t know about it,” said Hishamuddin.
Hishamuddin, who was dressed in a dark suit today, also denied that he was called to attend police identification parades.
“Never,” said the moustachioed officer.
Bon said Hishamuddin claimed he was ill on two occasions when he was called to go for police identification parades.
“The two times you were called to attend police identification parades, you took MC,” said the lawyer.
“Not true,” said Hishamuddin.
Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo reportedly said last month that there were 59 police reports between 2005 and 2010 which accused the MACC of using force in its interrogations.
Commissioner Datuk T. Selventhiranathan said recently that 21 out of those 59 police reports were against the Selangor branch.
Hishamuddin had stressed that the MACC did not use force in its interrogations.
“It’s a very harmonious, polite atmosphere to get testimonies on what really happened,” Hishamuddin had said.
Hishamuddin has also refuted accusations that the MACC practised interrogation techniques like forcing witnesses to stand in a dark room without moving, blindfolding them, kicking chairs and tables in front of them and playing the good cop, bad cop routine.
Cheow had said that one witness who was interviewed on the night of July 15, 2009, Kajang municipal councillor Tan Boon Wah, claimed his interrogators used some of the techniques mentioned.
The inquiry resumes on Monday.
Source: Malaysian Insider