Beng Hock’s Family Dispute Choice of New Solicitor-General

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The family of the late Teoh Beng Hock has voiced their objection to the appointment of Abdul Razak Musa as the new solicitor-general.

Given the latter’s controversial involvement in Beng Hock’s inquest back in 2011, the family asked if there was no one else available for the role.

Representing the family in a statement today, Beng Hock’s sister Teoh Lee Lan opined that Abdul Razak’s appointment had made Malaysia an “international joke”.

“Has Perikatan Nasional (PN) gone mad? Has the country run out of talent that a lawyer of such calibre is appointed to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC)?

Syazwan Kamal/Malaysiakini

“Is there any hope now for justice and vindication for the families of those who died of injustice? This appointment has undoubtedly made our country an international joke,” she said.

Lee Lan pointed to how, during the inquest, then deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Abdul Razak raised the possibility that Teoh had strangled himself and infamously demonstrated it before the Coroner’s Court.

She also recalled how Abdul Razak had “publicly ridiculed” Karpal Singh, Teoh’s counsel during the inquest, by making fun of his disability.

“After all, Teoh’s case has been reopened for investigation. As a former MACC lawyer, Abdul Razak ought to excuse himself to uphold justice,” Lee Lan said.

Beng Hock, who was an aide to DAP assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found to have fallen nine floors at MACC’s former Selangor headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009.

He was being held overnight at the graft buster’s office for questioning.

In 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned the coroner’s open verdict with regard to Beng Hock’s death, ruling that the latter died from a fall that could have been accelerated by unlawful actions of persons unknown, including by MACC officers. The court also ordered the police to investigate the death.

Following the verdict, MACC agreed to pay RM600,000 to Teoh’s family to settle a negligence suit brought against the commission.

The AGC later found no criminal elements in his death.

Effect on Teoh’s case?

Meanwhile, the chairperson of NGO “Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy”, Ng Geok Chee told Malaysiakini that she was “speechless and helpless” over Abdul Razak’s appointment.

She expressed concern over the fate of Teoh’s now-reopened case.

“The government, of course, has the discretion to appoint anyone.

“However, we think that the appointment of such a high-ranking official should be handled with caution. The candidate’s abilities and professional qualities should be taken into consideration,” she said.

Fion Yap/Malaysiakini

“Although the solicitor-general has no direct involvement in criminal cases since he is now appointed into the AGC, we are worried whether there will be, to a certain extent, some impact on Teoh’s case,” Ng added.

A powerful position, the solicitor-general acts as the deputy to the attorney-general (AG) and can perform any of the functions of the AG. – Malaysiakini