A just RCI for Beng Hock’s death

On January 5, 2011, soon after coroner Azmil Muntapha returned an open verdict to the inquest of the death of Teoh Beng Hock, a group calling themselves an association of Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Elected Representative Officers (Selpro) called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to establish how Beng Hock had died while in the custody of Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

They opined that the open verdict delivered by the coroner, after an 18 months ongoing inquest, was inapt. They were also astounded that the coroner also said it was neither suicide nor homicide. A decision made that was not conclusive, and now marred with more suspicions.

Together with some other Pakatan Rakyat leaders, some of whom are lawyers, they say the judgment that was delivered was unacceptable, and there is a need to appeal against it. They strongly called for the RCI to be conducted.

Dr. Xavier Jayakumar, a Selangor State Exco member and Seri Andalas state assemblyperson, announced the Selangor state has set up a benevolent fund of RM100,000 to study and produce a detailed report on all the incidents of tortures and deaths in custody in cases pertaining to the agencies related to the current government of Malaysia.

The inquest which began on July 29, 2009 had been fraught with controversies, with expert witnesses giving contrast and contradicting evidences, with the AG’s and police investigations that were incomplete and incompetent.

Coupled with the unacceptable verdict by the coroner, a concerned Malaysia group had called for a petition to demand Prime Minister Najib Razak to set up a royal commission to replace the current farce of the inquest and its verdict.

The Prime Minister had called for a RCI, but this group protests that it is not enough to set up the RCI only to limit its scope of investigation to find out whether the methods of questioning used by the MACC were aligned or contravened to Human Rights processes.

The petitioners want the RCI, to determine how did Beng Hock meet his death while in the Selangor MACC premises.

Video by R. Vijay Kumar, Citizen Journalist