Four Things Najib can do on Teoh’s 7th Day
by Wong Chin Huat
Teoh Beng Hock does not need flowers from PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak, note attached in Chinese: “Heaven envies talent”. Don’t blame Heaven for his death. Some earthly beings have caused his death after a torturous 11-hour interrogation.
Teoh’s death is anything but an “act of god”. It is neither natural nor purely accidental. He died after a lengthy interrogation without his counsel present. This is an established fact now, which needs no any commission or panel to verify.
It is unlikely that the MACC officers did not find out during the marathon interrogation that Teoh was to tie the knot with his fiancée the very next day. Yet, they kept drilling the bridegroom-to-be from 5 pm to 3.45 am.
MACC chief Ahmad Said had the guts to disown responsibility for Teoh’s untimely death even before the body was buried. Whatever you say about it, however you spin it, no official denial, no fanning of ethnic sentiments, and no white-wash can wipe off the anger and grief most Malaysians feel for his family, his fiancée and their first child she now carries.
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The Sri Lankan government claims that, after its military victory against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which was fighting for an independent homeland in the island’s north-east for the Tamil minority, Tamil “terrorism” has been crushed, and that the outlook for the country is rosy.
In reality, Sri Lanka’s problems have gotten worse. The need for international action against the crimes of the regime is more urgent than ever.
This year, the regime’s genocidal war on the Tamil people killed more than 30,000 Tamils this year. This occurred after the government removed international witnesses.
“Genocide” is defined by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as an act committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.
More than 300,000 Tamils have been incarcerated in what are essentially concentration camps set up by the government in the north. A well-functioning defacto state in the Vanni region, four large districts administered by the LTTE for more than a decade, has been decimated.
Democracy in Sri Lanka has been dismantled and a politico-military dictatorship established.
More than any other country, China has assisted Sri Lanka militarily and economically. The quid pro quo is the establishment of a major naval facility in Sri Lanka. This will help supply oil to China from the Middle East and safeguard the movement of manufactured goods from China to the West.
China has also started a coal-powered power plant in the island’s north-west. Eighty families of fisher people in the area have been evicted. The government claims they are “illegal residents” because they live in huts.
A US$500 million “soft loan” has been granted by the Export and Import Bank of China.
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Teoh Beng Hock- death occurred between 8.30 and 9.30am and most likely in the presence of MACC officials
“DAP aide who plunged to death last week did not jump but may have been ejected or pushed out.”
More shocking news to be revealed as investigation continues on the sudden and shocking death of DAP aide, Teoh Beng Hock.
By Wong Choon Mei
Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar has confirmed that they have siezed Teoh Beng Hock’s mobile phone from an MACC investigating officer, supporting ongoing speculation that the DAP aide who plunged to death last week did not jump but may have been ejected or pushed out.
Khalid also said the recently completed post-mortem showed Teoh died between four and five hours before his body was found at 1.30pm last Thursday.
“If we follow the initial report of the doctor, about four to five hours before the body was found,” he told reporters on Monday.
This means death occurred between 8.30 and 9.30am and most likely in the presence of MACC officials.
There have been news reports suggesting that Beng Hock’s interrogation was due to have resumed at 8am Thursday.
Beng Hock, who came to the MACC Shah Alam office at 5pm on Wednesday, underwent a marathon questioning session. The graft-buster said he was released at 3.45am Thursday.
Amid pressure, details emerge. But will the truth be allowed to surface.
According to MACC investigations division director Shukri Abdull, Beng Hock was free to go home but he chose to stay and catch a nap on a settee in the office.
Said Shukri: “The man was asked to come to Selangor MACC last night at 5pm for his statement to be recorded and this procedure was completed at 3.45am.
“At 3.45am, he was allowed to leave, he promised to come today to bring some documents to assist in the investigations. At 6am, he was still seen to be sleeping at the couch but we didn’t see him until 1.30pm today when the body was found.”
Asked Lim Guan Eng, DAP secretary general: “The MACC office is not a six-star hotel, if you are allowed to go home, you would go home. There is no spa, no sauna. Why would you want to stay there?”
The discovery of Beng Hock’s handphone, which no one had owned up to holding last week, supports Guan Eng’s doubts.
Close-circuit TV also showed Beng Hock entering the building but not leaving. Amid pressure from Beng Hock’s family and Pakatan Rakyat leaders, more ‘acceptable’ details are now being revealed.
The police had initially said there were no signs of foul play and there were also suggestions that he had jumped from the un-occupied 9th floor of the building – implying that his death had nothing to do with the MACC office.
In fact, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz actually said it was not the graft-buster’s fault that Beng Hock had jumped.
Fall was from 14th floor
Latest checks have debunked many of the earlier postulations. Khalid has admitted it was now “highly possible” that Beng Hock fell from the 14th floor.
“We were checking the 14th floor window because we found components of a window on the 5th floor (where Beng Hock’s body was discovered). We will take a closer look at the window. We suspect it is the window handle,” Khalid said.
He declined to give further details but said so far, 33 statements, including from 22 MACC officers, Beng Hock’s boss Ean Yong and lawyer M Manoharan have been taken.
He also said the police were now going through the call records in Beng Hock’s mobile phone.
Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan has said about 60 percent of investigations have been completed.
Meanwhile, Khalid attacked Kajang municipal councillor Tan Boon Wah for refusing to give the police his statement, saying that he risked facing charges for lodging a false report if he did not co-operate.
Tan – who also underwent interrogation around the same time as Beng Hock – had told a press conference on Friday that the MACC tortured him in a bid to force false confessions against Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong.
Ean is Beng Hock’s boss. Tan also complained that MACC officers threw racial slurs at him.
“I advise him to present himself to the police station to give a statement on the report he made. If not, we will have to issue a notice under Section 11 of the Penal Code to order him to give a statement at the station,” said Khalid.
Today is a sad day for the nation. DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock was laid to rest. An innocent man’s life has been taken away callously. The nation has risen in anger. They want answers to their innumerable questions. Will they find their answers, Will their doubts be answered? Will they be appeased? Will those in charge of MACC be accountable?
Only time will be able to answer these questions. It will take honesty and responsibility by the government of the present Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Najib Razak.
THE MIGHT OF THE PEN
20/07/2009: DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock was finally laid to rest, buried at the Nirwana Memorial Park at Semenyih, Selangor on Monday afternoon. Thousands had attended his funeral which began early this morning at his family home in Alor Gajah, Malacca. Escorted by his siblings, fiancee, relatives, friends and well-wishers, his coffin was driven to his final resting place. And there, may he rest in peace and be with God always.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
JULY 20 — Whatever support Datuk Seri Najib Razak managed to gain for himself with his recent attempts at reforms has now gone out the window along with Teoh Beng Hock.
Teoh, the political secretary to Selangor DAP exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on a neighbouring rooftop below the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s building in Shah Alam on July 16. According to reports, he had endured 10 hours of questioning by the MACC throughout the previous night.
Later that afternoon, his body was discovered on the roof of the adjacent building. The police have quickly announced that there is no evidence of foul play.
Teoh was apparently not even a suspect in the MACC’s fervent operation recently launched against Selangor state assemblymen belonging to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition. What makes his death more painfully tragic is that Teoh’s fiancée is pregnant, and the couple was scheduled to register his marriage the following day.
Given the lack of public confidence in the police, the anti-corruption apparatus and the federal government itself, calls for a thorough investigation by an independent commission into the case can be expected for a long time to come.
When the anger and sadness that this incident is generating subsides, the fingers of blame cannot but point beyond the MACC officers involved, and at Najib himself. He will be called upon to clarify why his party and coalition should not bear the responsibility for failing to reform the police and the anti-corruption authorities from the bottom up, as recommended by an endless number of experts.
The suspicion will grow that the federal government under Najib — judging from the mix of tactical reforms and sly politicking — does not appreciate how badly compromised the federal apparatus actually is. Despite continuous defeats at the polls, his administration has continued to treat the success of the opposition as if it were the result of clever tactics on the part of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his allies, and not as a public outcry for clean and reliable government.
Criticism that his recent reforms are cosmetic and more tactical than sincere will continue to grow. Given the difficult times that the Pakatan Rakyat has had in recent weeks, Teoh’s death provides renewed focus for its disheartened supporters.
Unlike the few recent cases of deaths under police custody, this one at the Selangor MACC headquarters involves a young man known for his political engagement. His demise therefore carries great political implications, and will be a milestone in the nation’s painful history that future students of Malaysia will have to commit to memory for their exams.
It is a tipping point. “Remember Teo Beng Hock” will be a battle cry for a long time to come.
The ball has now landed squarely in Najib’s court. If he is serious about reforming Malaysia beyond foreign investment regulations and quota changes, he now has his chance of putting partisanship aside, seizing the moment, and acting as a national leader who realises how vital the integrity and professionalism of its investigative authorities are.
Teoh’s death is too big to be swept under the carpet, and will continue to arouse anger unless properly investigated. And even then, strong demands for some decisive action on the government’s part to make sure that no such thing will happen again are to be expected.
Needless to say, the many young activists who have arisen since the Reformasi movement started in 1998 will sympathise at a personal level with Teoh’s family. As long as the case is not openly cleared up, the misgiving will remain strong that it could have been any one of them who might have suffered — or may suffer — an end similar to Teoh’s.
Just a day before Teoh died, the ruling Barisan Nasional was asserting that the narrow margin of 65 votes with which it lost to PR in the Manek Urai by-election showed that the pendulum that had been swinging in PR’s favour for two years was now going the other way.
Indeed, Najib’s popularity had risen sharply according to a recent survey done by the Merdeka Center. Teoh’s death sends a reminder to voters that the police and the anti-corruption body are in pressing need of serious reforming. For PR supporters, their resolve to work for a change of federal government will be strengthened.
What one must conclude from this incident is that Najib’s chosen course of reform avoids his major challenge, which is to restore the credibility of the police, the judiciary and the anti-corruption apparatus.
As long as he sidesteps this duty, his other attempts at change will not be taken seriously. Indeed, even his allies within BN are feeling a greater need to put pressure publicly on Najib.
For starters, it would be wise of Najib to call off MACC’s blatant campaign against the Selangor government.
The writer is a fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. His latest book is “Arrested Reform: The Undoing of Abdullah Badawi” (Refsa).
By Wong Choon Mei
Kajang municipal councillor Tan Boon Hwa – one of the last people to see DAP’s Teoh Beng Hock alive – has blown the whistle on the interrogation methods employed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which included prolonged hours of physical and mental torture to force false confessions.
Tan also said the MACC gave him a stern warning not to reveal what had transpired during their ‘interview’ before releasing him.
“The MACC officer said don’t bring the matter outside. But now, I cannot keep quiet because a life has been lost,” said Tan told a press conference on Friday.
Tan, who was being interrogated in the same MACC office, had bumped into Beng Hock while going to the toilet at around 6am.
“He was in the pantry. I greeted him, but he replied only with an ‘umph’. But when I came out of the toilet, he was gone. He did look a little tired,” said Tan.
Before that encounter, Tan said he did not know Beng Hock was also being interrogated by the MACC and was in the same Shah Alam office. According to the Kajang councillor, he was taken there at around 9pm on Wednesday after the MACC raided his house without a warrant.
During his interrogation, which began soon after he arrived and ended only the next day when he was finally released around 1.30pm, Tan gave a horrifying account of the MACC’s methods of ‘persuasion’.
The councillor told reporters that he was tortured and forced to stand from 10pm to 2am, threatened and verbally assaulted with racial taunts.
“I was shouted at: This is my place, you better believe that I can hit you’. I was then asked to stand and look straight,” said Tan.
“I was not allowed to rest my head. I was made to stand for four hours. They called me a stupid Chinese. Are you from China? You can’t speak Malay?
Prolonged interrogation to extract false confessions?
Tan was pulled in by the MACC to help in its investigation into the alleged misuse of public funds by Seri Kembangan assemblyman and state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah.
Tan, who is also a businessman, had last year supplied flags worth RM2,400 to one of Ean’s community development projects.
One of the reasons why his interrogation lasted so long was also because the MACC was trying to extract a false confession from him, possibly to incriminate Ean.
“They asked whether I supplied flags. I said yes but then I was forced to admit that I did not supply the flags,” said Tan.
“They said that if I don’t ‘tell the truth’, they will take away my wife and there would be no one to care for the children. But I did not give in.”
Like Tan, Beng Hock was also called in by the MACC. The 30-year former Sin Chew journalist was Ean’s personal aide and was interrogated from 5pm on Wednesday to 3.45am on Thursday.
According to the MACC, he asked to stay back because he was tired and wanted to sleep on the couch in the office.
Said MACC investigations director Shukri Abdull: “The man was asked to come to Selangor MACC last night at 5pm for his statement to be recorded and this procedure was completed at 3.45am.
“At 3.45am, he was allowed to leave, he promised to come today to bring some documents to assist in the investigations. At 6am, he was still seen to be sleeping at the couch but we didn’t see him until 1.30pm today when the body was found.
Beng Hock’s body was found at 1.30pm on the roof of an adjoining building to the MACC headquarters. It is not clear whether he jumped, fell or was pushed.
The police have been quick to claim there was no foul play, but his bosses and colleagues are equally certain he did not jump.
They question why he was interrogated for such long hours when the MACC said he was merely a witness and not a suspect.
They also seriously doubt he would opt to stay in the MACC premises once he was released as he had his own transport and could immediately go home to rest.
Beng Hock was due to register his marriage on Friday.
Said Ean: “He was going to get married, why would he want to commit suicide. He looked calm. Before he went to the MACC office, Manoharan and myself talked to him about how to answer the questions.
“If there was any problems, I should be the one to face action. I don’t see any reason for him to commit suicide. Furthermore, there was no reason for him to linger after the interrogation because his car was here.”
Despite mounting calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Beng Hock’s death, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has rejected the idea, insisting that the police was up to the job.
“We cannot accuse anyone or make baseless allegations as it could create unnecessary problems. Let us wait for the police to investigate the incident. Whatever it is, we are not looking to cover-up,” the DPM said.
By SK English News
Selangor voters have given Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and his team a clear thumbs-up with a 64 percent approval rating.
According to the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, 69 percent of Chinese and Indian respondents were happy with the Pakatan Rakyat state government, while amongst the Malays the rate was 59 percent.
Involving 1,360 telephone interviews conducted between June 5 to 15, the poll also found that 60 percent of the respondents believed the state was heading in the right direction, while 58 percent were satisfied with the government’s management of the economy.
Some 63 percent also expressed satisfaction with Khalid’s performance against just 19 percent which disapproved.
The Pakatan swept to power in Selangor in the 2008 general election, defeating the Umno-BN for the first time in the country’s most industrialised state.
Meanwhile, Khalid’s office attributed the good ratings to the “state’s welfare programmes, transparent and efficient administration and reduction of corruption”.
The survey, which it commissioned, also identified several areas of weakness, including a lack of communication avenues, lack of public awareness for programmes it was implementing and called for reduction of red tape and increase in provision of services.
The authorities in Sri Lanka have arrested a popular astrologer who predicted that the president will be ejected from office, police say.
Chandrasiri Bandara announced last week that the government would flounder in September and October because of political and economic problems.
The opposition have condemned the arrest and warned that the country is heading towards a dictatorship.
Astrology is taken seriously by numerous Sri Lankan politicians.
Police told the AP news agency that Mr Bandara told an opposition meeting that the prime minister would take over as president on 9 September and the opposition leader would become prime minister.
He was arrested on Wednesday night to investigate the basis of his prediction, police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera said.
Mr Bandara made his forecast despite the president’s high approval ratings following the defeat of Tamil Tigers rebels in May, bringing an end to nearly 26 years of civil war.
“The CID (Criminal Investigations Department) is questioning the astrologer,” Mr Gunasekara said.
The astrologer predicted that a planetary change on 8 October will be inauspicious for parliament and the government may not be able to contain rising living costs – a forecast which correspondents say has already been made by private economists.
“The crime which Chandrasiri Bandara committed was publishing an astrological column which was adverse to the government,” said opposition United National Party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake.
So convinced are Sri Lankan politicians over the accuracy of astrology that many have their own personal seers who decide the auspicious times to launch any new initiative.
President Rajapaksa has declared himself to be a believer, telling foreign reporters earlier this year that he has often consulted a favoured astrologer for advice on what time to make speeches or to depart for trips.
Mr Bandara – who has a weekly television show and writes controversial political columns for a pro-opposition newspaper – is one of the most popular astrologers in the country.
Media rights groups have complained of continued efforts by the government to stifle freedom of speech despite the end of the war.
On Wednesday the main media organisations in the country urged the government not to re-establish a body that can fine and imprison print journalists.
According to Amnesty International, at least 14 journalists and staff at news outlets have been killed by suspected government paramilitaries and rebels since the beginning of 2006.
The UK has demanded the immediate release of Iranian staff at its Tehran embassy who were arrested on Saturday.
Iranian media earlier reported that eight local staff at the mission had been detained for their “considerable role” in post-election riots.
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband called the arrests “harassment” and dismissed the allegations as baseless.
Relations between the countries are strained after Tehran accused the UK of stoking unrest, which London denies.
Iran has repeatedly accused foreign powers – especially Britain and the US – of stoking the unrest that swept the country after the 12 June election, which handed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a decisive victory.
In the fallout of the crisis, Tehran expelled two British diplomats in the past week, and the UK has responded with a similar measure.
Mr Miliband said about nine employees had been detained in total, but some had been released
“We are still concerned about a number of them who to our knowledge have not been released… The numbers are changing hour by hour,” he said on the sidelines of a European security meeting on the Greek island of Corfu.
“The idea that the British Embassy is somehow behind the demonstrations and protests that have been taking place in Tehran in recent weeks is wholly without foundation,” he added.
A strong protest had been made directly to the Iranian authorities, but there had been no response.
Mr Miliband said he would discuss the arrests with his European Union colleagues.
“All European countries have made clear that they want to stand together in standing up for the diplomatic principles that are important for our diplomatic activity all over the world,” he said.
The arrests were first reported by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.
“Eight local employees at the British embassy who had a considerable role in recent unrest were taken into custody,” Fars said, without giving a source.
Some 17 people are thought to have died in street protests after the disputed presidential poll, which the opposition complains was rigged.
Meanwhile, Iran’s powerful Guardian Council was due to give its verdict on the result of the disputed presidential election.
But the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen in Tehran says there is much politicking taking place behind the scenes, and that the five-day deadline for the Guardian Council to return its verdict may be extended.
Our correspondent says there is an attempt to form a committee – including the disappointed presidential candidates – to oversee the recount of 10% of the votes, a move which they are resisting.
Another parliamentary committee is holding discussions with the grand ayatollahs in an attempt from pro-Ahmadinejad forces to put on a show of unity, he adds.
But opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has not backed away from his claim that the election result was fraudulent, and has refused to support the Guardian Council’s plan for a partial recount.
Mr Mousavi has been calling for a full re-run of the vote, but said on Saturday that he would accept a review by an independent body.
However the Guardian Council has already defended President Ahmadinejad’s re-election, saying on Friday that the presidential poll was the “healthiest” since the Iranian revolution in 1979.
FROM THE WEBSITE OF ANWAR IBRAHIM
As lawmakers are gearing up for the second round of debate on the controversial Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) bill in Parliament next week, there is growing suspicion that this could be linked to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s upcoming sodomy case.
Suspended opposition Puchong parliamentarian Gobind Singh Deo believed that it was not a coincidence that the DNA bill resurfaced at a time when Anwar’s sodomy trial is to begin at the High Court on July 1.