Remember Teoh Beng Hock? How many Malaysians know about him or are aware that last Saturday, 16 July, would have been the 13th anniversary of his death?
The police probe into his death is incomplete and unfinished, despite a High Court ruling last month for the police to finalise the report and give his family closure.
Most Malaysians will never have heard of Teoh, but we would certainly have been affected by what happened to him and his family after reading press reports about his death.
By all accounts, he was just another law-abiding Malaysian, a dutiful son, someone who had plenty to look forward to, like the wedding to his fiancée and the birth of his son.
Today, it is doubtful if many people, especially our youth, will recall who Teoh was and the circumstances which led to his death.
If this could happen to Teoh, what’s to stop a similar incident occurring to you or your loved ones?
Will your family be given the runaround trying to establish the truth in their search for justice? Why was he killed?
There are many reasons why you should show concern for Teoh’s death. There were many inconsistencies in the gathering of evidence. There was the manner in which the authorities dragged his case.
There was an initial reluctance to form the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI). There were numerous unnecessary problems created when the family engaged renowned pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand to conduct a third postmortem on Teoh.
There was the distasteful claim by a lawyer that Teoh had taken his own life.
Why were the CCTVs not working? What happened to Teoh’s watch?
These and countless other questions make many people suspect a cover-up.
If the person or people responsible for his death wanted to tarnish his character, they have failed.
However, Teoh’s family is not the only one to suffer an injustice. The list of names is endless.
Besides mysterious and unexplained deaths in MACC custody, like Teoh’s (2009) and customs officer Ahmad Sarbani Ahmad (2011), there are the enforced disappearances of Amri Cik Mat, Pastor Raymond Koh, Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife Ruth, deaths in prison and deaths in police custody such as A Kugan (2009) and N Dharmendran (2013).
Some deaths have not been recorded, like those who were murdered and their bodies allegedly dumped into mining ponds.
It is believed that few people will notice or care that these people are missing because they have no relatives or friends, and primarily because many of them are considered a menace to society for they are members of a gang.
If not for Teoh’s untimely death, the family would have gathered at the registry office to witness Teoh’s marriage to his fiancée.
Instead of a happy occasion, they had to lodge a police report that he was missing, and when his body was finally found, sprawled on the fifth floor landing near the state MACC’s office in Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, the family had the painful task of registering his death.
The MACC wanted Teoh to shed light on around RM2,500 worth of funds for the purchase of flags and buntings which they claimed had been misappropriated by several assemblymen.
This is a tiny fraction of what some high profile politicians in government have stolen from the taxpayers.
Sadly, the simple act of answering his call to duty by presenting himself to the MACC offices to clear the confusion, Teoh sadly paid with his life.
If you recall, former PM Najib Abdul Razak met Teoh’s family after his death and told them, “No stone will be left unturned.”
This was yet another of Najib’s empty promises. For many people, this phrase is synonymous with cover-ups, lies and deceit.
The investigation into Teoh’s death has been shambolic, and to add insult to injury, the MACC officer credited with being responsible for Teoh’s death was later promoted and transferred to Sabah to become head of the Sabah MACC office.
The RCI revealed that MACC officers had used excessive violence on Teoh, but do we know if any of these MACC officers have been charged?
To add insult to injury, the RCI of 2011 concluded that Teoh was driven to suicide. This disgusting and irresponsible claim was made by a lawyer. It is a deliberate insult to Teoh’s memory.
Why should Teoh take his own life? He was about to get married. He was looking forward to the birth of his son.
Three separate task forces were formed in 2011, 2014 and 2018 to investigate Teoh’s death, but to date the final report is not ready.
Last month, on 16 June, the High Court granted permission to Teoh’s family to initiate judicial review proceedings against the police over his death. The IGP was given a month to complete the investigation.
The month is now up. Is the report ready? What’s the latest excuse for the delay? Why deny the family closure?
- The Edge Markets: I’m sure Teoh did not commit suicide: Pornthip
- Malaysiakini: High Court grants leave for judicial review bid over Beng Hock’s death
(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)