Los Angeles, California
July 22, 2011
Royal Commission’s Shocker: Teoh Beng Hock committed suicide
S Pathmawathy & Wong Teck Chi
Jul 21, 11
Though the finding do not divert from the official line of explanation by the authorities into the tragedy that occurred in mid-2009, Nazri said the RCI had determined the suicide was the result of continuous and aggressive questioning by officials of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Three MACC officers were found to have continuously used interrogation tactics that were “agresif dan tidak wajar” (aggressive and inappropriate) and therefore in violation of the regulations, Nazri told a press conference in Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.
The three officers are former Selangor investigations unit head Hishammudin Hashim, investigation officer Mohd Anuar Ismail and assistant superintendent Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus.
“The MACC had conducted investigations following information that a Selangor executive councillor and assemblyperson was involved in false allocation claims for his own party interest.
“Teoh was supposed to be the key witness for MACC which investigated the allegation involving the DAP executive councillor.
“MACC’s investigation mounted pressure on Teoh to make a confession as evidence,” said Nazri. However, Nazri added, the MACC officials did not have the intention of killing then aide to Selangor exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah.
“He was felt pressured and stressed as a result of continuous interrogation techniques,” said Nazri.
The commissioners’ conclusion that Teoh had committed suicide was strengthened by psychiatric findings that the latter was “weak in character.”
This was based on the testimony of forensic psychiatrist Paul Edward Mullen, who was engaged by the Bar Council. Mullen had testified that he believed Teoh killed himself based on Teoh’s character, which had changed from a low-risk group (with the potential for suicide) to the high-risk group, as a result of aggressive and continuous interrogation by MACC officers.
“Having considered all the evidence in its entirety, we found that Teoh was driven to commit suicide by the aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation to which he was subjected by certain officers of the MACC who were involved in the ongoing operation by the Selangor MACC on the night of the 15 and into the morning of the 16,” reads the report.
Commissioners were unanimous in their decision
Nazri said the commissioners, who were unanimous in their decision, have recommended that MACC’s interrogation procedures be reviewed. He added that the government is saddened by the incident that had taken Teoh’s life and gave a commitment that appropriate action will be taken against the officers who had flaunted the procedures.
He also urged interested parties, including Teoh’s family, to put an end to the “episode” with the report out in public. Besides concluding the circumstances surrounding Teoh’s death, the RCI panel was also entrusted to look into MACC’s interrogation procedures.
The report said: “But what is most saddening and regrettable is that the operation that the Selangor MACC embarked upon led to the death of Teoh, a promising young man in the prime of life who had everything to look forward to.”
“His family was robbed of a son and brother, his fiancee of a husband and his then unborn child of a father. We can feel the pain and anguish that they must have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the callous machinations and attitudes of the MACC officers who were involved in the operation.
“We express our heartfelt sympathies on the loss that the family of Teoh and his fiancee and son have had to bear and continue to bear. We can only hope that time will assuage their pain.”
Nazri acceded that the report has shown “many weaknesses” in MACC’s procedures and vowed that the government is committed to reviewing its techniques.
Nazri said the commissioners have recommended that MACC’s interrogation procedures be reviewed. On June 25, the five-member RCI panel submitted its 124-page report to the Agong after collecting evidence from February 14 and ending its proceedings on May 18.
Teoh was found dead on July 16, 2009, on the fifth floor service corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam after being questioned overnight at the Selangor MACC headquarters at its 14th floor.
Teoh was questioned as a witness on alleged irregularities into the disbursement of Selangor government funds by his employer, Seri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah. Ean Yong was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
A coroner’s inquest into Teoh’s death had returned an open verdict, leading the government to set up the RCI to look into the circumstances of his death, as well as to evaluate MACC’s interrogation procedures.
The RCI report, priced at RM45, will be available at the legal affairs department of the Prime Minister’s Office from 10am tomorrow (July 22).