Delay believed to be due to political sensitivities.
Despite pledges to reopen investigations into Teoh Beng Hock’s death, the case seems to be stuck in the “administrative” phase, with the family’s lawyer Ramkarpal Singh claiming that there is no valid reason for the delay.
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas on July 17 last year instructed Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun to reopen the probe into Teoh’s death, but Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on October 25 that authorities have yet to receive any instruction.
Ramkarpal refuted Muhyiddin’s statement, saying that the order from the A-G had been sent “a long time ago”.
“There is no reason for the police under the Home Ministry not to restart investigations,” Ramkarpal told The Malaysian Insight.
“Delaying the probe will only bring accusations of a ‘cover-up’ and this must be avoided. The Court of Appeal has also ruled that there are criminal elements in the case. This is a case that is critical to the public interest and cannot be delayed,” he said.
Ramkarpal said he has so far received no response to repeated requests for Muhyiddin to expedite the investigation, adding that he had re-examined Teoh’s case himself.
“I don’t know the reason behind the delay either. I think there are no more obstacles to reopening the probe. What’s the next step? There’s only reopening the case.”
Teoh died 10 years ago while in the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), where he was grilled over a probe into a former Selangor assemblyman.
The chairman of the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, Ong Yook Choo, believes that the delay is due to political sensitivities.
“The situation is volatile, many senior MACC officers investigating Barisan Nasional’s past misdeeds and other high-profile graft cases were also part of Teoh’s case. So, you can imagine what will happen if Teoh’s case is reopened,” she said.
MACC chief commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull and the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) chairman Abu Kassim Mohamed both held senior positions in the anti-graft agency when Teoh died in 2009.
Shukri was the head of investigations while Abu Kassim was chief commissioner. Both were accused by critics then of attempting to cover up the case.
In October 2016, Shukri, Abu Kassim and then deputy chief Mustafar Ali were either transferred or “retired” for investigating the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
After the change of government last May, Shukri and Abu Kassim were reappointed to senior positions and are now investigating high-profile cases of the previous administration.