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Saturday, May 7, 2011

MACC assassinates Teoh’s character

By Mariam Mokhtar | FMT

Even in death, the MACC will not leave Teoh Beng Hock alone. This time, they chose to sully whatever lasting memory Teoh’s poor family have of him, by claiming that Teoh committed suicide.

Are MACC lawyers poorly trained that they have to alternate from comical acts to farcical conjectures?

During the inquest into Teoh’s suspicious death, the MACC lawyer, Abdul Razak Musa grilled Dr Pornthip, the Thai pathologist, and gave the whole world a hilarious demonstration of how not to conduct a cross examination.

However, in the latest round of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), the MACC lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah charged that Teoh ‘took his life and chose “death before dishonour” to spare the DAP from charges of corruption’.

How ludicrous is that?

Shafee told Teoh’s boss, “Looking at the complexity of the situation Teoh Beng Hock was in, he was under severe pressure because more would be uncovered, he would probably have committed suicide, as an honour suicide and to protect you and the party? As the Chinese proverb goes ‘death before dishonour’”.

The MACC’s attempt to deflect attention from itself, by putting a new spin on Teoh’s death, only shows how desperate it is.

Most lawyers deal with hard facts and evidence. The MACC lawyers seem to dwell on guesswork, speculation and conjecture.

The RCI had been previously informed that Teoh’s boss, Selangor executive councillor, Ean Yong Hian Wah, was not guilty of abusing state funds.

Acting senior superintendent Ahmad Shafik Abdul Rahman said, “Results from investigations showed there was no testimony that could link YB Ean to wrongdoing under section 18 of the MACC Act 2009.”

Public humiliation

How convenient for Shafee to accuse Teoh when he is unable to defend himself? If Shafee says Teoh chose death before dishonor, then what is to stop the MACC from murdering to spare the organisation from being publicly humiliated?

In any case, how can Shafee equate the taking of one’s life with honour, especially if he claims, Teoh did it to protect his party from corruption. Isn’t corruption a dishonorable act?

Moreover, why should Teoh tarnish the family name for a mere RM2,400?

By insulting Teoh, the MACC has attempted to evade the spotlight on its shady activities. Its perverse ‘damage limitation’ exercise has not succeeded. Many questions remain unanswered.

For instance, why did the MACC panic when Teoh’s body was found sprawled several floors below from where he was interviewed?

Why was there an appreciable delay in making the police report once Teoh was found?

Why did one of the MACC staff stop by his home in Puchong, to warn his wife and family of the dangers to their personal safety?

During the RCI, the MACC assistant superintendent Azeem Hafeez Jamaluddin said Hishamuddin Hashim, who was then Selangor MACC deputy director, had ordered him to testify that another graftbuster had led the probe against Ean Yong.

In an MACC meeting held after Teoh’s death, Azeem said, “The operation was led by Hishamuddin, but in the discussion, Hishamuddin asked that it be said the operation was ordered by Hairul (Ilham Hamzah)”.

Why the subterfuge?

The RCI revealed that certain people had been coached to answer the questions that might have been put to them.

Selective amnesia

Many of the officers appeared to have selective amnesia and standard operating procedures had not been adhered to. There had been no attempt by the leaders to correct several slipshod methods, like jotting down detailed observations in a notebook. The use of torture had been condoned.
DSP Kamaruddin Ismail of the Shah Alam police Criminal Investigation Department told the RCI that 20 investigation papers were opened from March 2005 to July 2009 on complaints of abuse and torture against MACC officers.

However, Kamaruddin said that identification parades only happened years later, because of the “lack of cooperation from the MACC”.

Kamaruddin said, “….from my monitoring, I find that the MACC investigators have a problem in working with the police. When they are called to the police station (for their statements to be recorded) they don’t show up and the police have to go to their office to get the statements.”
The sense of public outrage at taxpayers money funding this irresponsible, corrupt and ineffective government agency cannot be compared to the contempt the public has for the MACC trying to denigrate Teoh.
The MACC was humiliated when it was found that their officers had abused the use of their computers to download pornography during working hours. In addition, the impression is one of small cases of corruption being pursued whilst those involving several millions are not.

So why is everyone in the MACC protecting each other? The Malaysian public is being lied to because crucial, incriminating evidence in Teoh’s death has gone missing thus preventing the investigation from going any further. It is obvious there is conspiracy at work in the MACC.
As the MACC no longer serves the public, it should be disbanded.

Does the MACC really expect us to believe that everyone who falls out of an MACC window committed suicide? Can the MACC explain why their buildings seem like a magnet for potential suicides? Recently, customs officer Ahmad Sarbani fell to his death. Last October, a retired income tax officer Ho Hong Chai, 57, from Kuching, also jumped from an MACC building.

Teoh Beng Hock was Chinese and a DAP political aide when he met his untimely death. When the same fate befell a Malay civil servant, several of the bystanders, from various communities started to have doubts about how Teoh met his untimely demise. Suspicions centred on the MACC. The death of Ahmad Sarbani managed to galvanise the nation and unite it in its grief.

With two high-profile deaths, the MACC Commissioner, Abu Kassim Mohamed has no choice but to step aside to restore public confidence. He has lost our respect and he must resign.

The MACC lawyer had the audacity to charge Teoh with an “honourable” suicide to save his party from shame. Perhaps Abu Kassim might want to do the “honourable” thing and “save” the MACC’s reputation by jumping off an MACC building.

Mariam Mokhtar is a political observer and an FMT columnist.

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