By Wong Choon Mei, Suara Keadilan
In a clear sign that he has not learnt his lesson, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Ahmad Said Hamdan defended his commission’s practice of prolonged interrogation, even into the wee hours of the morning.
At no time did he show any remorse that such practice could have resulted in the untimely death of Selangor political officer Teoh Beng Hock, although the entire nation has been in an uproar over it.
Perhaps this is because the MACC chief is feeling secure that come what may, he and his agency will be protected by the man they answer directly to – prime minister of the day and Umno president Najib Razak.
“It is not by choice that we choose to stay on until the wee hours of the morning to record statements from witnesses and suspects,” Ahmad was reported as saying on Sunday.
“But in certain cases we need to act fast to check attempts to wipe out evidence and tracks.”
He was responding to the storm of criticism over the MACC’s interrogation techniques that have been widely blamed for causing Teoh’s death.
Beng Hock, an aide to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong, was taken in for questioning on July 15 at 5pm and according to the MACC, he was released at 3.45am on July 16.
Prolonged hours of interrogation by any standards, especially since Beng Hock was being questioned as a witness and not a suspect into alleged misuse of funds by several Selangor Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen, including Ean.
Sadly though, the 30-year never got to leave the MACC 14th floor office alive again. His body was found sprawled on the 5th floor podium of an adjoining building at 1.30pm.
But rubbing salt to the wound, Ahmad defiantly said the lead investigator of the probe was reassigned not because of Beng Hock’s death but because of death threats to himself.
“As there was a threat on his life, we took him off the case and reassigned him elsewhere. We are doing this for his own security,” Ahmad said. The MACC itself too has received several threats demanding it stopped the probe, he added.
Revealed – the grand Umno plot
It is clear Ahmad knows which side his bread is buttered.
This is not the first time and it will definitely not be last – unless he is removed – that he has deliberately forsaken the ethical just to stand on the side of his political masters – the Umno top brass.
The MACC itself is directly responsible to Najib, the current prime minister and Umno president. Warfare is already out in the open.
Selangor Umno – which Najib also heads – has declared an all-out assault on the Pakatan state government.
It plans to topple Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim through all ways and means, including using all the tools of the federal machinery at its disposal.
And thanks to Najib’s control of the federal government, these include the MACC, the police and even the courts.
The grand plot revealed in a black blog “Truth for Beng Hock” was to begin by targeting seven Chinese assemblymen in Selangor Pakatan by accusing them of working hand-in-glove with the Chinese triads and underworld.
Pressure would be piled on the aides, associates and even the peers of these assemblymen. They would be coerced until breaking point and perhaps even bribed to turn against the seven.
Kajang municipal councillor Tan Boon Wah – interrogated around the same time as Beng Hock – has already lodged a police and filed a law suit against the MACC. Tan has accused the agency of using illegal means to detain and force false confessions from him to implicate Ean.
As it stands, Pakatan leaders have made no bones about being harassed by the MACC. For weeks, they have openly condemned the agency for discrimination and when its actions finally resulted in Beng Hock’s death, there were numerous calls for it to immediately stop.
These calls came not just from the Pakatan but all-round from civil society and the Malaysian public. And the calls were not aimed at stopping the probe but getting the MACC to come clean on what it was trying to do with its mysterious and and eventually fatal fishing expedition.
The MACC has wide powers. But it cannot simply detain, it cannot simply interrogate, it cannot simply accuse without properly stating why.
And this why Najib must heed the growing calls from Malaysians to hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Beng Hock’s suspicious death. He should not be allowed to get away with an RCI that only looks into the interrogative methods of the MACC.
There is no reason at all for Najib not to empower the RCI to investigate Beng Hock’s death. There is no reason at all to hold a separate inquest UNLESS Najib has reason to do some covering up of his own.
It is time for the nation ask the PM, does he?