KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — The boycott of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Teoh Beng Hock’s death by his family has nothing to do with the Agong, a constitutional law expert said today.
“The Agong has nothing to do with the RCI,” law professor Abdul Aziz Bari said in response to former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Shaik Daud Ismail’s claim today that Teoh’s family had disrespected the Agong by walking out of the inquiry.
“Shaik Daud is talking nonsense by claiming that the Teohs had insulted the Agong. It drags the royalty into the affair when the entire panel and process was put in motion by the prime minister,” said the International Islamic University Malaysia academic who specialises in constitutional monarchy.
Shaik Daud, who retired from the judiciary in 2001, said in a Bernama report that all parties involved should give the RCI due recognition and respect because it was set up on the command of the king.
Abdul Aziz told The Malaysian Insider that Shaik Daud’s comments were surprising for a former top-ranking judge as it showed a failure to understand the separation of powers under a constitutional monarchy.
“It’s like saying the envelopes used for government documents with Urusan Seri Paduka Baginda (On His Majesty’s Service) on them were sent by the King and can somehow be misused in an insulting way to the Agong,” he said.
Teoh’s sister, brother, parents and their two lawyers walked out of the RCI proceedings on February 16 after they failed to stay its proceedings, claiming the deputy public prosecutors that were acting as conducting officers would not be impartial.
The former political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah had fallen to his death on July 16, 2009 after being questioned by officers of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission at their old offices in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam.
A 17-month-long coroner’s inquest had delivered an “open verdict” ruling out both suicide and homicide which then prompted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to form the commission in the face of public pressure.
Abdul Aziz also said that a judge should show empathy and sensitivity to the family of the deceased even if he did not agree with their actions.