Saturday, January 16

Teoh Beng Hock committed suicide, says inquiry panel

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KUALA LUMPUR: A Royal Commission of Inquiry has established as suicide the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock whose body was found at a building in Shah Alam where he had been questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in July 2009.

This conclusion of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) is contained in a 124-page report of the five-member panel headed by Federal Court Judge Tan Sri James Foong Cheng Yuen.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on Jan 26 the setting up of the RCI to, among others, determine the cause of Teoh’s death after the Shah Alam Coroner’s Court delivered an open verdict following an inquest.

Teoh, 30, the political secretary to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, Selangor, on July 16, 2009, after giving a statement at the Selangor MACC office located on the 14th floor of the same building.

The RCI sat for 50 days, from Feb 14 to May 10, and heard the testimony of 70 witnesses at the New Civil High Court (NCvC) at the Court Complex, here.

The RCI, in its report, established that Teoh committed suicide following an aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation session.

It also found that MACC officers had no intention and reason to kill Teoh, and had only questioned him to obtain a confession so that Teoh could become a witness in the case of alleged irregularities involving Ean.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, at a news conference on the RCI report at the Parliament lobby, said the RCI concluded that Teoh had committed suicide as he felt oppressed by the aggressive and relentless interrogation, coupled with his weakness of character.

He said the fact of suicide was supported by the testimonies of three experts of forensic psychiatry, namely Professor of Forensic Psychiatry Paul Edward Mullen of Monash University, Australia, who was engaged by the Bar Council of Malaysia, as well as Dr Badi’ah Yahya and Dr Nor Hayati Ali.

Nazri said these experts concluded that the aggressive and relentless interrogation resulted in Teoh experiencing a change in his state of mind, transforming him from being in the low-risk group for suicide into the high-risk group.

“As such, Teoh Beng Hock was not killed,” he said. — Bernama