The Teoh family have, since the tragedy occurred, been demanding a royal commission of inquiry to probe Teoh Beng Hock’s mysterious death. However, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak ignored the request and merely set up a coroner’s court on 22 July 2009 to carry out an inquest into Teoh’s death. He promised the Teoh family that “no stone will be left unturned in finding out the real cause of death and, if there is any foul play, action will definitely be taken” when he met them on 29 July 2009.
However, as the inquest went on, it became increasingly clear that the inquest and the police investigation showed no sincerity in finding out the truth. Not even one MACC officers was held as suspect, critical evidence had been intentionally ignored by investigation officers (I/O), and instances of double standards were aplenty, for example only the Teoh family was asked to be interviewed by psychiatrists and not the MACC officers.
MACC Chief Commissioner Abu Kassim ensured the Teoh family that there would be justice for Beng Hock but MACC lawyer Abdul Razak Musa had been pushing for a suicide verdict in the inquest. MACC officers had even lodged a police report to prevent respected Thai pathologist Dr. Pornthip from entering Malaysia to testify in inquest. The Attorney-General’s Chambers withheld a mysterious note for a year and only submitted it to coroner when the inquest proceeding was nearing its end.
On 5th Jan 2011, the one-and-a-half-year inquest returned an open verdict that deeply disappointed the Teoh family. They repeated the call to set up a royal commission, but the Prime Minister announced on 7th Jan 2011 the setting up of a royal commission that would only probe MACC investigation procedures to determine if Teoh’s human rights had been violated during the his interrogation.
The Prime Minister’s announcement angered the public. From the date of the announcement until 26 January 2011, Malaysians for Beng Hock’s signature campaign for a royal commission of inquiry into Teoh’s death had garnered a sharp rise in response, raking up more than 30,000 signatures in three weeks and putting the total of signatures to well over 100,000. Public disapproval of the Prime Minister’s decision was clear and undisputed.