Malaysia

Utusan defends MACC, holds DAP responsible for Teoh’s death

KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — Utusan Malaysia expressed sympathy for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for bearing the brunt of the blame for Teoh Beng Hock’s death, saying today it was DAP and its adviser Lim Kit Siang who should be held responsible. 

The Umno-owned daily’s editors, writing under the pseudonym Awang Selamat, accused the opposition party of tricking Malaysians into forgetting the corruption allegation against its leaders by drawing focus to Teoh’s death. 

“Malaysians have been dragged too deep into this issue (Teoh’s death) until we have strayed from the actual path. The real issue — corruption — has been buried. 

“This is DAP’s success... all this time, their actual intention is to hide the many shortcomings of its leaders in this case,” Awang said in Mingguan Malaysia, the Malay daily’s Sunday paper. 

Awang added that if the just-released Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report on Teoh’s death is studied carefully, it could be surmised that there were elements of cronyism, corruption and financial manipulation in the case. 

As such, Awang said that DAP should be held responsible for Teoh’s death as through his death, the youth had helped the party save its image from being further tarnished. 

“Awang agrees with the view from several parties that DAP should be held responsible. Its key leader Lim Kit Siang should apologise to all Malaysians, the government, the MACC and Teoh’s family. 

“Awang hope that no one will question the cause of Teoh’s death again, or even worse, continue to use it as a political tool,” he wrote. 

Awang also urged MACC officers not to lose morale in their jobs and encouraging them to proceed with their “noble roles”. 

“There is no need to be shaky if there are contents in the report that seem unpleasant and do not reflect reality. 

“Awang understands that the interrogation process is not easy,” he said. 

The RCI report, which was released on Thursday, ruled that the former DAP aide had committed suicide as a result of “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation” by MACC officers, particularly the then deputy director for Selangor MACC Hishammuddin Hashim and enforcement officers Arman Alies and Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus. 

The officers, described in the RCI as “Arman the bully, Ashraf the abuser and HH the arrogant leader”, had wanted to pressure Teoh into becoming a witness in their case against his boss, Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, for alleged abuse of public funds. 

The RCI had also found fault with the MACC’s techniques, saying that the graft officers on Teoh’s case were not only brutal during interrogation but also had poor interview skills and viewed witnesses and suspects as “the enemy”. 

Despite this, Utusan Malaysia came to MACC’s defence today, saying that “one or two incidents” do not reflect the the weakness or failure of the entire commission. 

“Awang hopes the morale of the MACC officers and workers will not be affected by this. Furthermore, MACC’s decision to suspend the three officers proves that it is open-minded,” the paper’s editors wrote. 

The MACC announced yesterday the suspension of the three officers named in the RCI report, pending an internal probe on the royal panel’s findings.

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