Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Some politicians from Barisan Nasional thought money would end the ordeal Teoh Beng Hock’s family was going through as a result of his mysterious death, according to his sister, Lee Lan.

When the government agreed, in 2015, to pay the family RM600,000 in compensation, many people, including ruling politicians, saw the case as solved and wondered why the family was still insisting on the continuation of police investigations, Lee Lan told FMT.

“People didn’t understand why we needed to continue to pursue the case in a criminal court,” she said. “It didn’t help that there were several politicians who told reporters that the outcome of our civil suit meant that the case was solved.

“We even had strangers coming up to us to ask my mother why were we still pursuing the case when we had already got our payment.”

After the Court of Appeal ruled in 2011 that Beng Hock’s death was “accelerated by unlawful acts” committed by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers, the family decided to file a civil suit alleging negligence and assault leading to death. Named as respondents were the government of Malaysia, 10 MACC officers and the commission itself.

It was in order to settle the suit that the government paid the compensation.

Lee Lan said the family accepted the settlement because it meant the government was acknowledging that Beng Hock died as a result of wrongdoing on MACC’s part. Indeed, she added, the civil suit was filed in order to challenge the theory that he committed suicide.

Now that the criminal case is being reopened, Lee Lan and DAP, of which Beng Hock was a member, have called for the suspension of five MACC officers said to have been implicated in the case. They have been named in several reports as Hishamuddin Hashim, Hairul Ilham Hamzah, Mohd Anuar Ismail, Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yusuf and Zulkefly Aziz.

Three of them – Hishamuddin, Anuar and Ashraf – were castigated by a royal commission set up in 2011 to inquire into the circumstances of Beng Hock’s death. But the attorney-general cleared them of criminal charges in 2012.

Lee Lan noted that Hishamuddin had since been promoted and given a new assignment in Sabah.

There have been two police investigations into the Beng Hock case. Lee Lan alleged that the second investigation appeared to be aimed at establishing suicidal tendencies in Beng Hock.

She said she did not hear of any MACC officer being summoned for interrogation.

“Instead, they kept on questioning my family. We were asked about Beng Hock’s cooking methods, how he prepared a dish – whether it was messy or in order – his sleeping patterns and whether he was happy, sad or stressed.”

She said it was obvious that the police were trying to build a case for suicide.

“That just wasn’t right,” she added.