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The announcement of instituting two separate inquiries into the death of Teoh Beng Hock has indeed make a huge mockery of the public outrage, despondency and quest for justice, accountability and transparency. The decision of the Cabinet for two separate bodies, namely a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to investigate the MACC’s standard operating procedure (SOP) on interrogation-cum-investigation and the inquest to determine the cause of Teoh’s death, is at best puzzling and at worst smacks of bad faith.

Given the already very dented image of the judiciary, any attempt at delegating responsibility to the magistrate (especially if he/she is a junior one, as is usually the case in an inquest) who, while acting as a coroner, has to be assisted by the deputy public prosecutor from the A-G’s office is surely very much unwelcomed by the discerning public. To make it worse, they have to rely on the investigation of the police, an enforcement agency currently very much wanting in integrity and transparency. Going by the many inquest proceedings of the recent past of deaths in custody, no police officials have been found culpable. Most deaths inevitably were classified “natural causes” or “sudden deaths”. So, will the rakyat be again shortchanged?

It should have dawned on Premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak by now that gone are the days when the rakyat is easily mesmerised by big slogans and rhetoric. It was over with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Pak Lah. As for now it is sensible for Najib to understand that if he still insists and bent on shouting slogans, he has just got to live up to them immediately. The rakyat wants to see it in Teoh’s tragic death investigation. Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of “1 Malaysia, People First, Performance Now” that the Cabinet orders the immediate establishment of a royal commission of inquiry to comprehensively undertake the entire investigation of the SOP of the MACC and the cause of Teoh’s death as the two are, for all intents and purposes, related?

The public not only questions the wisdom or the lack of it in separating the two procedures with their separate terms of reference, but more importantly of the intention to separate the two probes. Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of “Performance Now” and especially prudent use of taxpayers’ money that the Cabinet orders only one credible and independent RCI of experienced distinguished personalities be instituted as to undertake the comprehensive investigation and everything that surrounded Teoh’s death? Wouldn’t it also be pertinent in the spirit of “People First” that the Cabinet empathises with the psychological trauma and suffering of the late Teoh’s fiancée and his loved ones as not to subject them to unnecessary further investigation save that of the RCI? Already there were the MACC, PDRM, now perhaps the inquest and finally the RCI. Is that Najib’s style of the mantra “People First”?


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