The statement by Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that all avenues in the investigations into the death of Teoh Beng Hock have been exhausted and that the family of Teoh wants more, with respect, does not reflect the many unresolved gaps and serious unanswered questions surrounding Teoh’s death.
Of particular concern is the following that was said by Muhyiddin,
“Pasal keluarga tak puas hati walaupun keluarga telahpun menerima bayaran pampasan, maka dia tuntut lagi.”
No doubt, Muhyiddin left the matter to the Attorney General but his said statement warrants comment.
It must be pointed out and emphasised at once that the settlement of the civil suit by Teoh’s family was made without prejudice to the criminal investigations into the matter and same does not, in any way, indicate that Teoh’s family accepts that there was no element of homicide involving his death or that the said criminal investigations have been satisfactory.
It is not unusual for such civil suits to be settled amicably on a without prejudice basis which does not, in any way, compromise the criminal investigations.
Teoh’s family is not seeking what they are not entitled to. They are seeking justice and it is the duty of the state to provide them that justice by properly and competently investigating Teoh’s death.
Further, Muhyiddin’s said remark seems to overlook the findings of the Court of Appeal which, in no uncertain terms, suggest that there were elements of foul play and homicide in Teoh’s death and that there were parties, known or unknown, responsible for his death.
The fact remains that no criminal charges have been initiated against those responsible for Teoh’s death to date, which is quite separate from the civil proceedings that were initiated by his family.
After 10 years from the time of Teoh’s death, questions still remain as to whether there are parties who are criminally responsible for his death. As such, it cannot be said that all avenues in the investigations into his death have been exhausted.
Although the civil aspect of the case has been resolved, the same cannot be said in relation to the criminal aspect.
It is unlikely that Teoh took his own life as he was scheduled to be married soon after his death and was expecting his first child. There was simply no reason for him to have done so.
It is hoped that the criminal investigations are satisfactorily concluded as soon as possible in order to bring closure to this unfortunate saga.
Dated this 27th June, 2019.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY