Sunday, September 27

Teoh Beng Hock family withdraws from CI


KUALA LUMPUR: The family of the late Teoh Beng Hock withdrew from participating in the Commission of Inquiry (CI) tasked with investigating the political aide’s death, after they failed to get it to stay its proceedings yesterday.

Lawyers Karpal Singh and Gobind Singh Deo who are representing the family also failed in their application to get the CI’s chairman Tan Sri James Foong Cheng Yuen to recuse himself.

Karpal Singh announced the family’s withdrawal shortly after Foong ruled that the CI would continue with its proceedings without waiting for the High Court’s decision on an application for a judicial review to be filed by Teoh’s family to have the three conducting officers (COs) from the Attorney-General’s Chambers assisting the commission dropped and replaced by independent COs.

Foong had said that there were no reasons for the CI to review its decision on Monday, when the CI opened its hearing, to allow senior federal counsel Amerjeet Singh and deputy public prosecutors Kwan Li Sa and Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud to be the COs.

On the recusal application, Foong said all the members of the CI panel were of the opinion that there was no need for him to do so and that there were no grounds to support the application.

Earlier, Karpal Singh had stated that Foong should recuse himself because this was the first time a sitting Federal Court judge was chairing a commission of inquiry.

However, lawyer Christopher Leong from the Bar Council said this was a norm in other countries and this was supported by lawyer Datuk Shafee Abdullah, who is representing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Amarjeet Singh.

Later, speaking to reporters outside the court, Karpal Singh said he no longer wanted to be involved in the inquiry because of the CI’s decision not to wait for the outcome of the judicial review application to drop the COs.

The application is expected to be heard at the High Court (Appellate and Sepcial Powers) tomorrow.

Karpal Singh added that Teoh’s family would now focus on the judicial review application filed by the Attorney-General in connection with the Coroner’s verdict into his death.

The AG had filed the judicial review application following Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas returning an open verdict in the case.

The application is scheduled to be heard before Judge Datuk Mohtarudin Baki at the Shah Alam High Court today.

Besides Foong, the other panel members are former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman, former Court of Appeal judge Datuk T Selventhiranathan, Penang Hospital forensic pathologist Dr Bhupinder Singh and forensic psychiatrist and dean of Cyberjaya Medical Science College University, Prof Dr Mohamed Hatta Shaharom.

Teoh, 30, an aide to a Selangor state executive councillor, was found dead on the fifth floor landing of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009, after being questioned overnight at the Selangor MACC office on the 14th floor of the same building. — Bernama .