KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — The family of Teoh Beng Hock said today that they wanted anti-graft officers to take responsibility for his death, and demanded the prime minister increase the size of a royal panel formed yesterday to include members they have proposed.
In a statement today, Beng Hock’s sister Lee Lan insisted that as her brother died in the custody of the MACC, “personnel within the government agency should take responsibility for his death.”
Lee Lan (picture) said that her family was “puzzled” why none of the names they proposed were appointed to the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) announced by Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday.
“It is regrettable that the prime minister did not consult us nor accept the proposals made jointly by 126 NGOs before he announced the names of the commissioners,” she said in a statement on behalf of the family
Among the nominees proposed were former national police chief Tun Hanif Omar, former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, former Court of Appeal judge NH Chan and former Deputy Prime minister Tun Musa Hitam.
Lee Lan said that while her family was comforted by the RCI probe into Beng Hock’s death, they urged the prime minister to now increase the panel to nine members to include these candidates.
Beng Hock, the political secretary to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam on July 16, 2009, after being interrogated overnight by its officials.
Najib had announced the RCI on January 7 to look into MACC’s investigative methods and the Attorney-General has applied to revise coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas’s verdict, which ruled out both suicide and homicide in Beng Hock’s death.
He had then said the RCI would have “specific” terms of reference and would not be expanded to include a probe into how the 30-year-old DAP political aide had plunged to his death.
This, said Najib, was because the law stipulated that investigations into a person’s cause of death should be carried out through the coroner’s office.
The family also expressed its hope today that after the three-month investigation by the RCI, it will provide “a clear and satisfactory answer” as opposed to what they called 18 months of “futile inquest proceedings” in the coroner’s court which delivered the “open verdict” that Lee Lan has previously called “meaningless.”
“The royal commission must carry out in-depth investigations, for example, investigating what actually caused the neck injury on Beng Hock and the many contradictory testimonies of MACC officers,” Lee Lan said.