Candelelight Vigil: A Tribute to Teo Beng Hock
Some 500 people gathered outside the Plaza Masalam building in Shah Alam last night for a candlelight vigil held to mourn the death of Teo Beng Hock.
Led by Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, the crowd paid tribute to the 30-year-old former journalist, who was described by friends and former colleagues as a good-hearted and friendly person.
Teo, who was working as the political secretary to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hean Wah, is said to have plunged to his death from the building.
He was last seen at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Selangor office – located on the 14th floor of the building – where he was brought in for questioning over investigations into alleged misappropriation of funds by his boss.
Addressing the crowd, Ean Yong demanded a detailed explanation from MACC and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over his aide’s death.
“This is a tragedy that could have been avoided if MACC followed proper procedures,” said the exco, his voice cracking with grief.
“He was only a
witness. I never thought he would not back.”
According to MACC, Teo was called in at 6pm yesterday and was questioned until 3.45am but was allowed to leave after that. However, Teo had instead chose to ‘rest’ on a sofa in the MACC office and was last seen at 6am.
His body was discovered on the roof top of Plaza Masalam, more than seven hours later – at 1.30pm – by a janitor. He had apparently fallen from the MACC tower block which is adjacent to the plaza.
‘Goes in alive, comes out a corpse’
Klang MP Charles Santiago told the crowd that a “good man went to the MACC (to assist them in their investigations) and came out a corpse.”
“How can we expect MACC or the police to protect the common man?” he asked.
The crowd also vented their anger towards Najib and chanted slogans such as ‘MACC murderers’ and ‘BN is cruel’.
Kampung Tunku assemblyperson Lau Weng San claimed that the ongoing MACC probe against Selangor Pakatan Rakyat state reps was nothing short of persecution.
“Najib has declared war on Selangor. He wants to take this state like how he took Perak,” added PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin.
Throughout the vigil, the participants who knew Teo recalled their final encounters with the deceased.
“He parks his car beside mine everyday. Now, I will not be able to see him anymore,” lamented Abdul Razak Ismail, the aide of Selangor exco member Dr Xavier Jeyakumar.
“I had meals with him so many times. I cannot believe that he is gone. MACC must pay for this,” a distraugted DAP party worker from Perak told Malaysiakini.
Fiancee barred from seeing his remains
Earlier in the evening, drama broke out on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam when the police refused to allow Teo’s fiancee to see his body.
“Please… please just let me see him once,” she pleaded, sobbing uncontrollably.
The pair had known each other for five years and were supposed to register their marriage today.
Counsel for Teo’s family Gobind Singh Deo expressed regret that the police only allowed Teo’s elder brother to see the body.
He also criticised the police for only informing the family that they could appoint their own pathologist to inspect the body at the eleventh hour.
Gobind said the family was given only about half an hour to bring a pathologist. He confirmed that three pathologist were already at the scene.
“We have asked for the preliminary findings but they have given naught,” he exclaimed.
Another Selangor exco member Ronnie Liu demanded that the attorney-general take stern action against those responsible for Teo’s death.
“If MACC did not take him, he would still be alive. MACC must be charged for murder or manslaughter,” he said.
Eyebrows were also raised as to why the police forensics team took almost nine hours to remove the body.
At about 9.15pm, the police took Teo’s body out of the building through the loading bay, avoiding the horde of journalists, photographers and vigilers gathered at the main entrances.
The police truck carrying the body sped off from the crowded car park en route to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang, where a post-mortem will be carried out today.
It is understood that at least two forensics team inspected Teo’s body.
According to DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, Teo’s mother in Alor Gajah, Malacca, had been crying non-stop since she was informed of the news at 5pm.
“Friends and relatives (are) in shock,” he said in a Tweeter message.
Teo’s mother was consoled by former DAP secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock.