Malaysia

Guan Eng slams Putrajaya for Teoh Beng Hock scandal whitewash

The RCI ruled last July that Teoh was driven to suicide after aggressive and relentless interrogation by three MACC officers. — file pic The RCI ruled last July that Teoh was driven to suicide after aggressive and relentless interrogation by three MACC officers. — file pic KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Lim Guan Eng accused Putrajaya today of attempting to “whitewash” the Teoh Beng Hock case, citing its failure to punish those deemed responsible.

The DAP secretary-general pointed out that the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) had found that Teoh was driven to suicide after aggressive and relentless interrogation by three graft-busting officers, adding that failure to take action against the trio was an attempt by the government to cover up the case.

“Some of the recommendations (of the RCI), they must implement — against those whom they suspect to be involved to have contributed to the death of Teoh Beng Hock,” Lim told reporters today.

“The failure of the federal government to do so shows they just want to cover up scandals and this is wrong and shows no commitment to show that justice is done and that Teoh Beng Hock will not die in vain.”

The Penang chief minister said his party would continue to pressure the government into taking appropriate action against the trio by raising the issue in Parliament.

“I am sure we will continue to exert public pressure,” he said. “That is the only avenue we have left.”

Lim also suggested that Barisan Nasional (BN) could lose votes as a result of the lack of action.

“They should not treat this as a game to cover up or whitewash,” he said. “You cannot just cover up scandals any more.”

The RCI ruled last July that three investigating officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had used continuous, aggressive and improper questioning tactics on Teoh which had breached its existing standard operating procedures.

It recommended that action be taken specifically against the three MACC officers, namely former Selangor MACC deputy director Hishammuddin Hashim, assistant enforcement officer Arman Alias and assistant superintendant Mohd Ahsraf Mohd Yunus.

They should not treat this as a game to cover up or whitewash. You cannot just cover up scandals any more. — Lim Guan Eng

The RCI also made three recommendations to the MACC: to improve its entry qualifications and officer training programme; to improve its infrastructure and office facilities; and to review its existing procedures to be more comprehensive and effective.

Teoh’s family later applied for a judicial review against the RCI’s conclusion that he had committed suicide.

But Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had refused on Thursday evening to clarify if his office would prosecute the MACC trio, only saying that the case had been referred back to the commission.

“I only charge, not investigate. I don’t want to argue with you,” Gani had said after a meeting with de facto law minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz and MACC investigations chief Datuk Mustafar Ali, when asked if the trio had committed any wrongdoing.

Nazri had said in a written reply in Parliament to Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching on Wednesday that police were investigating the case and the Attorney-General’s Chambers was now studying investigation papers after a complaint lodged by Teoh’s sister Lee Lan on October 28 last year.

But Teo, the DAP deputy publicity chief, told reporters on Wednesday morning that the reply contradicted Nazri’s March 29 reply to PKR’s Gopeng MP Lee Boon Chye when he said “the AGC has found no criminal wrongdoing... no legal action will be taken against the three MACC officers.”

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department had said on October 24, 2011 that the A-G was not pursuing legal action against the three MACC officers implicated in the DAP aide’s 2009 death as no police report had been lodged and there was insufficient investigative evidence.

The Padang Rengas MP refused to comment on the matter on Thursday afternoon, only sending a message through his aide for reporters to “clarify with the A-G as his officer provided the response.”

Teoh’s body was found on a landing of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, the MACC’s headquarters at the time, the day after he was interrogated overnight on July 16, 2009.

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