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Rejecting the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) findings that DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock had committed suicide, the Bar Council says the government and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should apologise to Teohs family and compensate them for the loss.
The Malaysian Bar also calls on the government of Malaysia and MACC to consider offering an unqualified written apology to Teoh Beng Hocks family, and to the citizens of Malaysia, for his death, said Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee (belowleft).
He also urged the government provide reasonable compensation to Teohs family for his death.
Lim said that the authorities should investigate the relevant MACC officers for possible offences under sections 304 and 304A of the Penal Code, namely for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and for causing Teohs death through negligence, respectively.
It is very clear to the Malaysian Bar that full responsibility for Teoh Beng Hocks death lies squarely and solely on the MACC, and that immediate action must be taken to hold the culpable officers accountable for their behaviour, he added.
In a statement today, Lim said the RCIs finding is unsupported by the facts and the evidence of the case.
He also pointed out that contrary to the statement made by Minister in Prime Ministers Department Mohd Nazri Aziz during the release of the RCI report, forensic psychiatrist Paul Edward Mullen had not testified that Teoh had a weak character that had led him to suicide.
No conclusion of weak character
Mullen also did not conclude that Teoh had committed suicide; rather, his testimony stated that in [his] opinion, what we learned of Teohs personality and behaviour do not suggest any increased risk of suicide.
He further opined that the context of the events that had taken place was not one which, in [his] experience, leads to suicide in custody, as he had not been made aware of anything to explain panic and distress sufficient to drive (Teoh) to conclude his honour had been irreparably tarnished, said Lim.
He also pointed out that Mullens testimony does not provide the basis for the RCIs finding of suicide, such as that described in the section titled Conclusion on forensic psychiatric aspects in the RCIs report.
In that section, the RCI stated that Teoh experienced a change in his state of mind. And in a matter of hours, this change transformed him from being in the low-risk group for suicide into the high-risk group.
Lim said that Nazri had made the same statement at the reports launch, that Teoh had truly committed suicide based on his character that had changed from a low-risk group to a high-risk group for suicide after undergoing a continuous and aggressive questioning session.
Suicide a leap in logic
The Malaysian Bar, whose lawyers had assisted throughout the inquiry, also noted that the joint expert psychiatric report of Dr Badiah Yahya and Dr Nor Hayati Ali had stated that there was a lack of information to determine Teohs state of mind.
The report read: We did not have any evidence on how the investigation was conducted as there were no written questions posted to (Teoh) or audio recording as to ascertain the amount of pressure he experienced.
It is not known whether he had experienced in his mind the effects of being possibly prosecuted on the allegations, whether it would have been devastating for him and/or his organisation. This should require more information on what was said and done in the period taken! [sic] i nto custody until he was found dead.
Both the experts from Health Ministry were engaged by MACC and present during most of the court proceedings and had interviewed Teohs family members, housemate and work colleagues.
The Bar Council noted that the RCI found the following:
Therefore, to surmise that Teoh had committed suicide between 7.15am and 11.15am, said Lim, requires a leap in logic and an assumption of facts not in evidence.
Despite the disagreement, there are a number of key points on which the Bar Council concurred with the RCI report:
(age 5, Lida)
Linda Medina was the youngest girl ever to give birth. She was just 5 years, 7 months, and 21 days when her 2.7 kg (6.0 lb) son Gerardo was born. Linda got attendance of her parents when they noticed abnormal increase of her belly; she was thought to have had a tumor but when Linda was taken to hospital, there they get to know about her pregnancy. The mystery remains unsolved about the father of Gerardo. Both mother and son died at the age of 40 and 76 respectively.
(age 8, Lima)
The father of Gerardo was never discovered, but this girl was raped by two of her own cousins. She got pregnant and gave birth to a baby weighing 2 kg (4.4 lb) by cesarean section at a hospital in December 2006.
(age 9, Hilda Trujillo)
Hilda Trujillo was third youngest mother to give birth at the age of nine. In November Hilda entered the Maternity Hospital as the patient of Obstetrician Rolando Colareta, underwent examination by a team of 16 obstetricians, gland specialists, radiologists, psychiatrists and general practitioners. They reported her to be normal, only a little older-looking than other girls of her age. After one month, on December 1957 she gave birth to a baby girl. Her 22 year old cousin was arrested, accused of rape. Dr Rolando Colareta who examined her gave reasoning saying the rape of minors is nothing so unusual here or anywhere else. But of course rape does not mean pregnancy in children so young, except in rare cases.
(age 9, Phetchabun.Thailand)
Not that long ago in the month of February 2001 Wanwisa Janmuk became youngest Asian mother. Worlds forth youngest mother was married to a 26 year! old man ; by the time of birth mother and father were nine and twenty seven year old respectively.
(age 9, Singapore)
After Thailand, Singapore was second Asian country where a nine year old girl gave birth to a baby. She was student of primary school, had an affair with 14 year old student. Both were alone at home in the absence of their parents and she ended up getting pregnant.
How old do you think the youngest mum in Chow Kit is?
Digital books proved to be the final frontier for Borders
Borders bookshops across the United States, 399 of them, began liquidation sales on Friday as the pioneer book superstore chain announced its closure after 40 years in business. It is a victim of the Internet, particularly of the booming business in digital books and electronic book readers, falling too far behind Amazons Kindle and Barnes & Nobles Nook to compete. Borders boss Mike Edwards also blamed a changing book industry and an overall bad economy, adding, We put up a great fight, but regrettably, in the end, we werent able to overcome these external forces.
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We did not have any evidence on how the investigation was conducted as there were no written questions posted to [Teoh Beng Hock] or audio recording as to ascertain the amount of pressure that he experienced. It is not known whether he had experienced in his mind the effects of being possibly prosecuted on the allegations, whether it would have been devastating for him and/or his organisation. This should require more information on what was said and done in the period taken [sic] into custody until he was found dead.
RCI REPORT Contrary to his testimony, Hishamuddin Hashim was found to have been in full control and actively involved in the entire operation.
According to the report, contrary to his testimony, Hishamuddin (left) was found to have been in full control and actively involved in the entire operation from the very start.
The commission discovered that during the period of the operation, the officers involved would keep him updated twice in a day when he would give them specific directions.
"Even when the officers were on the ground, they would call him on their mobile phones for directions should they encounter any problem in the operation, or he would call them to give directions," the report said.
"He not only was involved but he also unleashed his officers to do his bidding in order to get results within that night (of July 15) and morning (of July 16) come hell or high water.
"He was clearly accountable for what transpired at the Selangor MACC during the period in question, and the submission of counsel for the MACC falls flat in the face of these facts," read the RCI report.
It pointed out that Teoh was driven to commit suicide by the "aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogations" by MACC officers acting on Hishamuddin's orders.
The commission named Hishamuddin, together with two of his officers - Mohd Anuar Ismail and Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus, as the trio who questioned Teoh in the postulated fourth interrogation that was described as the "final straw that broke ! the came l's back".
Deadly obsession with achieving aim
Therefore, the RCI report stressed that although there was no direct evidence to prove that Hishamuddin had a hand in the death of Teoh, he should be held responsible for the actions taken by him and his officers, which propelled Teoh to take his own life.
The senior officer, who has been with the MACC for 21 years, was described by the report as an "arrogant leader who would have no qualms in lying as long as his ends were achieved, regardless of the means employed".
"We found him to be arrogant, given to falsehoods, untruthful and uncompromising in his stand."
However, he had been promoted after the incident and currently holds the senior position as Negeri Sembilan MACC director.
The commission said Hishamuddin had launched a full-scale operation, mobilising the whole Selangor MACC while seeking manpower support from other MACC offices on the mere belief in the informant and without supporting facts.
"...Hishamuddin should have exercised every caution as the complaint was serious in nature and involved the state government of Selangor...," read the report.
The commission said Hishamuddin was simply too stubborn to retreat from his mistake in mounting such a massive operation against Selangor elected representatives, particularly when it had received wide and extensive press coverage.
Disappointed at the negative result obtained from witnesses, the commission believed that Hishamuddin must have resorted to a personal and more aggressive interrogation of Teoh since the latter held the vital link between Ean Yong and the suppliers or contractors.
"And if anything were to be made to 'stick' on Ean Yong, it would have to be through Teoh," the report added.
'Iron grip a major hindrance'
Hishamudin! 's tight grip on his officers also hindered the RCI from unearthing the truth from other MACC officers.
"Hishamuddin was described by MACC officer Azian as a workaholic. As a boss, he also instilled fear in his officers. Opportunities for promotion rested mainly in his hands.
"The whole range of interview-interrogation techniques would have been employed by his officers and himself to satisfy his desire to obtain results in the shortest possible time.
"Thus, it was not at all surprising that most of his officers, save two strong souls (Azeen and Azian) who pointed out the truth, had the inevitable habit of lying," read the RCI report.
Azeen Hafees Jamaluddin (left) and Azian Umar were the two MACC officers who exposed Hishamuddin's falsehoods during the inquiry.
They revealed that Hishamuddin had called all the Selangor MACC officers involved in the case for a meeting on July 16 evening, to exclude himself from the responsibility and shift it all to Anuar.
The commission noted that Hishammudin appeared to have absolute authority to probe anyone whom he suspected to be involved in any corrupt practice in the state without even informing or obtaining the consent of his superiors at the Putrajaya headquarters of the MACC headquarters.
But the commission was later told by the current MACC deputy chief commissioner that this shortcoming had been rectified and that certain cases in any state now require approval and consent from HQ before investigations can commence.
The report also touched on the anonymous letter dated Aug 5, 2009 purportedly written by MACC officers which alleged the corrupt practices, misconduct and abuse of power committed by Hishamuddin in connection with the cases involving Teoh and former Selangor menteri besar Mohamad Khir ! Toyo.
It pointed out that although the letter had received the attention of the then-MACC chief commissioner, the anti-graft body did not carry out a formal investigation on the matter, given that the anti-graft body has very wide powers to set its investigative machinery in motion.
"According to section 29 of the MACC Act, a report may be made orally or in writing, and in the present matter before this RCI, the information that set the investigation machinery of the MACC in motion had purportedly been conveyed to Hishamuddin merely over the telephone," the report added.
Today, we have a different political and social scenario. UMNO-BN are still in total denial of what the majority of the people wanted across the political divides Anwar is in a political siege as he had yet to emerge clean from his personal encounters Amanah in its true form as a new NGO may change the political, economic and social landscape of the nation
By Dato Haji Mustapha Ong
Yes I do have something to say and I will say it loud and clear based on my own personal conscience without fear or favour. I am only one of the minority voices within the minority in UMNO politics since my involvement from 1963. Although I am not in the league of Tengku Razaleigh, I share the same vision with Ku Li but I do not simply criticise my YDP Agong, party leaders, my government and this beloved nation which had given me so much in my 69 years as a patriotic citizen.
I had given more than 34 years of my life back to national service as a party official and government officer since the mid 60s with distinction and recognition from the nation. I am proud of my small contribution to the nation. Contrary to those who had criticised me for my bloggings in the cyberspace, I have never received any special favours and financial benefits from the party or government. I vouch that my success and that of my children are all due to our own hard work and not through political patronage from the UMNO leaders and the government. UMNO/BN had given me nothing absolutely although I have walked together with them in the corridors of power in my capacity as a party and government senior officer for more than half of my life.
Today, we have a dif! ferent p olitical and social scenario and the BN government had paid dearly for their mistakes and wrong doings as we had witnessed the loss of 5 state governments in the 2008 general election. UMNO and their crony BN component parties had not learnt their lessons and until today, 2011, they are still in total denial of what the majority of the people wanted across the political divides.
Former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was given the opportunity to lead UMNO and the BN government, through the popular support he had garnered in the 2004 general election but he had failed the electorate and the people in particular. Thus we had lost heavily to the opposition pact led by Anwar Ibrahim as proven in the 2008 general election. Anwar together with his PR partners are in the final lap of their attempt to overthrow the BN government under the leadership of Najib Tun Razak as a political run up to the 13th general election.
However, Anwar is in a political siege as he had yet to emerge clean from his personal encounters in his current ongoing sodomy II trial beginning in early August. Anwar had diverted a lot of public attention to other issues that he had created in order to neutralise the peoples opinion about his dubious character that had badly affected his reputation and creditability as an opposition leader. By hook or by crook, Anwar wants to topple this government by force with all his unconventional strategies in order to capture Putrajaya and become the next prime minister of Malaysia.
Yesterday (Friday, 22 July), together with all peace loving Malaysians of all races, I had attended the launch of Angkatan Amanah Merderka held at the Tunku Memorial in Kuala Lumpur. I believe there were at least more than two thousand people in the audience who had attended the function, with or without invitation. The launch was an eye opener for us and the support from the audience was warm and spontaneous.
Amanah Merdeka is led by a Central Council comprised of Tengku Razaleigh the Preside! nt, six prominent Deputy Presidents and seven Vice Presidents with a clear vision and mission in the name of unity and solidarity.
Although Amanah is politically motivated and inspired with some of the mixed former political leaders in the pro BN government party leadership from both West and East Malaysia, it is hoped that Amanahs noble course to reignite the voice of unity, the spirit of the Constitution, the pledge of justice and lastly the freedom for true liberty, will not be hijacked by irresponsible politically infiltrated agents.
Amanah in its true form as a new NGO may change the political, economic and social landscape of the nation to be led by the next democratically elected government after the 13th general election.Dato Haji Mustapha Ong was once private secretary to Information Minister Datuk Mohamad Rahmat and later in the diplomatic service. He is the father of Omar Ong of Ethos Consulting, a close adviser to the prime minister, Najib Tun Razak.