Family adamant RCI probe Teoh's death


Despite the Prime Minister's assurances to Teoh Beng Hock's family that he would leave "no stone unturned", the family is insisting that an inquest is not sufficient to investigate the cause of death.
Instead, the family is saying that they would not be satisfied unless Beng Hock's cause of death is determined by an independent and comprehensive Royal Commission of Inquiry.

This was conveyed to Najib yesterday, who invited Beng Hock's family and his fiancee Soh Cher Wei to his office in Putrajaya for a half-hour meeting.

"We thank the prime minister for taking time to meet us and hear us out. We stated our position that we want a transparent and independent royal commission to investigate the cause of death on my brother," said Beng Hock's younger sister See Lan.

Beng Hock's family members were repeatedly asked by reporters today about their meeting with Najib, after the inquest proceedings at the Shah Alam court complex.

Elder brother Beng Kee, 33, said the family welcomed the premier's initiative to hold a meeting with his family, but he also told the premier that they were adamant about the royal commission's scope.

Below is an excerpt from the interview with Teoh's family members.

Reporter: Did the prime minister promise your family anything?

See Lan: On fiancee (Soh) naming the child after our surname, the prime minister said he will try to help.

Reporter: What else was discussed?

See Lan: We told him about (including Teoh's cause of death) in the Royal Commission. He did try to explain (why this was not done), but we were adamant about our position.

Reporter: How did he reply to this? Did he say he will consider it?

See Lan: He said that if we are unsatisfied with the inquest, we can then (appeal) for the Royal Commission (to probe the cause of death). He did say he would 'make due consideration'...

Beng Kee: ... if the inquest cannot find the truth.

See Lan: But we still maintained that we need the Royal Commission to investigate the cause of death (instead of an inquest).

Father did not speak

Beng Hock's father, Leong Hwee, 62, did not speak to the media. The Malacca-based family and Soh, were among the 77 witnesses that will be called to testify at the inquest.

Beng Hock's mother Teng Shuw Hor, 56, was not present at the inquest, but attended the meeting with Najib yesterday.

Meanwhile, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang urged Najib and the Attorney-General's Chambers to respect the wishes of the family and conduct a full scale royal commission to determine Beng Hock's cause of death.

He said that at the moment, though Najib had promised to leave no stone unturned, "the prime minister has turned no stone whatsoever" by denying the family's request.

He adds that Najib and the Attorney-general's explanation that the inquest was the proper procedure was an unacceptable and untenable explanation,

He said there as there were examples in commonwealth countries where public inquiries and was prioritised over an inquest, as in the case of British weapons expert Dr David Kelly, who's death was investigated by the Hutton Inquiry in 2003.

"When he died under mysterious circumstances, the British government established the Hutton Inquiry, and the Coroner's inquest deferred the proceedings until the inquiry was completed," said Lim.
29/07/09

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