Malaysian commission’s probe tactics bared:Victims talk of ‘mental, physical’ pressure

KUALA LUMPUR - Victims of torture by a government commission revealed the “mental and physical” pressure that they underwent following the death of an opposition member last week allegedly in the hands of the same group.

Tan Boon Hwa was forced to stand for four hours by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission that threatened to assault him repeatedly, according to Malaysian opposition members, which appeared in a report by Din Mericin, a Malaysian-based independent news correspondent.

“They kept calling me stupid China man. They said that if I don’t ‘tell the truth’, they will take away my wife and there would be no one to care for the children. But I did not give in,” Tan said.

Ramon Navaratham, an adviser to the MACC, grudgingly admitted that “no normal person can withstand the mental and physical pressure” of the MACC interrogation tactics and called for a review of the agency procedures. “Teoh’s death is tragic and unnecessary,” he said.

Navaratham referred to Teoh Beng Hock, 30, who was found dead on Thursday at the balcony of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission building in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor state controlled by the People’s Alliance coalition of Anwar’s Justice Party, the Democratic Action Party and the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party.

Well-placed sources and officials close to the MACC said Teoh was “manhandled and threatened” by investigators during a 10-hour interrogation as part of a political conspiracy to bring down opposition leaders, led by Anwar Ibrahim, and to implicate them for alleged misuse of funds.

“When he refused to do so, the officers dragged him to a window on the 14-story building and threatened to throw him out,” the said the source who was not authorized to speak to media.

Teoh was to get married on the day his body was found. His fiancée is expecting their first baby and has vowed to raise the child as a symbol of her love for Teoh.

MACC officers claim that Teoh was not a suspect in any crime. But officers declined to answer why he was interrogated beginning late evening until the early hours of next day and that his lawyers were not allowed to be present.

The government pledged a thorough investigation on Teoh’s death but few were willing to believe in that assurance. “They are all the same, the police can investigate but how many suspects have died in police lockups and nothing has been done. It will be no different this time,” said Kesavan Munusamy, a 32-year old businessman.

Liew Chin Tong, an MP from DAP, said Teoh’s death has revealed “the most sinister elements of the National Front government.”

“In its attempt to implicate elected members of the opposition for corruption which would later pave the way for a coup d’ etat, the MACC has started killing our young.”

“It is now our obligation to see that Malaysia is freed from the National Front misrule and justice is restored in our beloved nation,” he said.

20/07/09

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