Gov’t agrees to RCI for Teoh, all eyes on terms of reference

The government has agreed to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the suspicious death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock, whose body was found outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission building after he underwent a marathon investigation at its 14th floor office.

But while civil society leaders and opposition politicians welcomed the move, they remained cautious about Prime Minister Najib Razak’s sincerity to carry out an effective Inquiry.

“This is the most basic step but we are glad that Najib has cleared it,” PKR strategic affairs director Tian Chua told Suara Keadilan.

“All eyes will now be on who will be selected to the panel and what are its terms of reference. And then after that even more importantly is the will to implement the findings and recommendations of the RCI.

“After all, we have seen so many RCIs come and go but can we say there has been change? Look at the Lingam Tape, the Police commission, the Anwar black-eye. The evidence was overwhelming and yet nothing came of it!”

Selangor to appoint panel to watch over RCI proceedings

According to Prime Minister Najib Razak, the RCI will review the MACC’s investigative procedures to determine if there were any human rights violations during its marathon interrogation of Beng Hock.

He also said an inquest will separately be held to determine Beng Hock’s death. The Cabinet also instructed the Home Ministry and the police to wrap up its investigations as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim said the state government will appoint a panel of lawyers to watch over the RCI proceedings.

Khalid said Beng Hock was an officer of the Selangor government and it therefore behoved the state to protect his rights and those of his family.

The Menteri Besar has already banned the MACC from questioning state staff at its premises and will only allow interviews to be carried out at the state secretariat building.

“The state government is of the opinion that the formation of a Royal Commission is a right step to ensure that justice is done for Teoh,” Khalid said in a statement.

“But we hope the panel will be professionally selected and do its investigations impartially, without fear or favour.”

SK
22/07/09

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