Teoh Beng Hock family’s open letter to prime minister

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Articles, News, Press Statement

Source: http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/153778

Sincerity is the fundamental basis for transformational leadership. Without sincerity, there is absolutely no chance for the truth to prevail in Beng Hock’s death.

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

Do you not know that the verdict of the inquest has brought our family much pain and anguish?

For more than 500 days, we waited anxiously for the truth, clinging on to as much hope as we could have mustered, that the coroner’s court would eventually find out how Beng Hock died, only to be told the result was an open verdict.

After one and a half years, we still have no idea how he died. What is stopping the authorities from finding out the truth?

When we complained about the biased inquest, you ignored us; when we demanded for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to probe Beng Hock’s cause of death, you did not respond to us.

We still remember what you said to us when we met you last year. You said that the government would conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that no stone would be left unturned.

Yes, we want a thorough investigation. The final verdict of the inquest confirmed that Beng Hock sustained pre-fall injury to his neck.

Our family wants to know who caused the injury, how it was sustained and who should be responsible for it.

It has been two weeks since the coroner delivered his verdict which did not rule out the possibility of homicide in a convincing manner. Why didn’t the government continue to investigate the pre-fall injury on Beng Hock’s neck?

Why didn’t the government continue to probe the contradictory statements made by the MACC officers?

You set up a royal commission of inquiry on 7 January 2011, one which would not investigate Beng Hock’s cause of death. We are deeply disappointed with the announcement as this RCI would not pursue the parties and personnel responsible for his death and would not bring closure to the case.

This RCI was also formed without prior consultation with our family on its terms of reference as well as the recommended commissioners.

We want an independent, transparent, and credible royal commission. The uncompassionate, non-transparent decision making process which had come to characterise the previous investigation into the case must not be repeated. We do not want an encore of the inquest.

Mr. Prime Minister, we have travelled to many parts of the country in the past few weeks, collecting no less than 80,000 signatures from compassionate citizens who are supporting our appeal to the government to set up an RCI into the cause of Beng Hock’s death.

After your announcement on setting up the RCI on MACC investigation methods, as many as 126 civil society organisations urged the government to include the cause of death into the terms of reference.

Over the past year and a half, many political parties and non-governmental organisations, including BN component parties MCA and Gerakan, the Bar Council, Aliran and others, have repeatedly called upon the government to set up an RCI.

It is clear that an RCI into Beng Hock’s cause of death is what many Malaysians are asking for. Ignoring the voices of the people is akin to betraying the spirit of democracy.

You have quoted the Chinese idioms “Worry before the world worries, Happy after the world is happy” and propagate your slogan “People first”.

These are noble aspirations, and we praise you for it. However, if you refuse to listen to the people’s voice on Beng Hock, ignoring the demand of 80,000 petition endorsees and 126 civil society organisation, is this still putting “people first” and “worry before the world worries”?

Our family agrees and affirms the demand of 126 organisations to include cause of death into the terms of reference of royal commission and appoint seven persons of high integrity, with good track records in defending human rights to be commissioners.

We do hope the PM could hold on the name list to be submitted to Yang Di Pertuan Agong, please listen to us, let our family and the people of this country have confidence on the royal commission established by you.

Mr. Prime Minister, Teoh Beng Hock is no different from millions of ordinary Malaysians. This country must treasure their lives and contributions, just as the Federal Constitution must ensure their fundamental rights and their right to live.

Nobody’s life should suffer deprivation and be snatched away, in the land one was born.

Nobody should experience any form institutional torture and violence, just as the respect for the dignity of life and the protection of human rights is the benchmark of a nation’s greatness.

We hope the government sincerely confronts the issue of Beng Hock’s death and ensures justice for a simple Malaysian life, Teoh Beng Hock. The government owes us the truth.

Our family will not give up in pursuing justice, as many brave and conscientious Malaysians have are standing up to join us in our efforts. We trust that civil society will support our struggle, and we will continue to organise nation-wide road shows to propagate this need for justice. We will not give up until true justice prevails.

Thanks.

Teoh Lee Lan
Representative of Teoh Beng Hock family
18.01.2011

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