1) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy calls upon the federal government to review the decision of investigating the death of Teoh Beng Hock under the section 342 (wrongful confinement) of penal code.
We urge the government to accept our 4 demands : (1) Immediate suspend 5 MACC officers Hishamuddin, Hairul, Anuar, Ashraf and Zulkefly; (2) Investigate and charge the 5 officers under section 302 (murder) or 304 (culpable homicide); (3) Take action against the master mind of the MACC operation 10 years ago in accordance to the laws.
In July 2009, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) initiated a large-scale investigation against seven Pakatan Rakyat Selangor state assemblymen in relation to the use of state funds in their respective constituencies.
On 15 July 2009, MACC officers raided the office of Selangor State Executive Councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah and detained his political secretary Teoh Beng Hock at the headquarter of Selangor MACC located in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam since 6pm. The marathon interrogation against Teoh continued until mid-night. The next day, Teoh was found dead at the 5th floor roof top of Plaza Masalam. His death shocked the nation and led to several public protests.
Despite Teoh family, civil society and opposition parties called for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to probe Teoh’s death and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Prime Minister Najib Razak ordered an inquest and promised that he would leave no stone unturned. During the inquest, prominent Thai Pathologist Dr. Pornthip, who was invited by Selangor state government to participate in the second autopsy, discovered pre-fall injuries on Teoh’s neck and concluded that Teoh’s death was 80% attributed to homicide.
On 5 January 2010, the coroner Azmil Mustapha Abas delivered an open verdict in the inquest into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock. The result caused public outcry. Under pressure, Najib announced setting up of a royal commission of inquiry to probe the cause of death of Teoh Beng Hock. Disappointingly, the RCI commissioners chaired by the then Federal Court judge James Foong made a conclusion on 21 July 2011 that Teoh was driven to suicide due to the aggressive interrogation method deployed by MACC officers.
Teoh family continued to pursue justice for Beng Hock through application of judicial review of the inquest result. However, on 1 December 2011, Shah Alam high court rejected Teoh family’s appeal and maintained the open verdict ruling. But the Court of Appeal overturned the ruling and instructed the Inspector-General of Police to re-open the case. The significance of the appellate court ruling was that it concluded “one or more unknown persons caused the death of Teoh Beng Hock, including MACC officers”. Which means their culpability of causing Teoh’s death must be pursued under the penal code. Unfortunately, the police re-opened the case with no intention to discover the truth.
After 20 months of investigation, the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy declared “no criminal element” in Teoh’s death. Teoh’s case only sees silver lining after the historic change of federal government on 8 May 2018.
3) FRESH PROBE AND CHANGE OF INVESTIGATION DIRECTION
On 20 June 2018, one month after the 14th general election which witness the fall of BN federal government, Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng announced that the cabinet had agreed to reopen the case of Teoh Beng Hock. In response to the latest move, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy urged the new government to form a task force comprised of AG, police, SUHAKAM, Bar Council and SUARAM to conduct the fresh investigation. But the government ignored the call.
On 10 January 2019, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy submitted a memorandum to the representative of IGP Fuzi Harun, seeking an explanation that whether the police have received the instruction from AG chamber and why the new investigation has not been carried out. Thereafter, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that the new investigation had been ongoing after the police received an instruction from AG to reopen the case in July 2018. Fuzi explained to the media that the police had submitted the report to the AG, but AG was asking for more information.
On 25 June 2019, Selangor police requested Teoh Lee Lan to give statement to assist their probe into Teoh’s case under section 342 wrongful confinement of penal code. We criticised the police had changed the investigation direction and disregarded MACC officers’ responsibility in causing the death of Teoh.
Section 342 of the Penal code states that “Whoever wrongfully confines any person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to two thousand ringgit or with both.”
This is in stark contrast to the recommendations of Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy and Teoh family that those MACC officers involved should be prosecuted under the Section 302 of murder or 304 of culpable homicide that upon conviction the perpetrators will face severe punishment.
Indeed, the police have re-categorised the case from culpable homicide to a procedural responsibility.This has indifferently disregarded the criminal responsibility in causing the death of Teoh and give a lighter punishment to MACC officers. Both Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng and Teoh’s family lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said they would send a letter to AG to ask for an explanation.
4) OUR DEMANDS
(a) Immediate suspend 5 MACC officers Hishamuddin, Hairul, Anuar, Ashraf and Zulkefly;
(b) Investigate and charge the 5 officers under section 302 (murder) or 304 (culpable homicide);
(c) Take action against the master mind of the MACC operation 10 years ago in accordance to the laws.