Bar welcomes decision to reopen probe into Teoh Beng Hock case, calls for enactment of coroners’ court act

Photo courtesy of aduntamanmedan.wordpress.com
Malaysians still remember Beng Hock and Sarbani

The Malaysian Bar welcomes the news that the police have reopened investigations into the death of Teoh Beng Hock.

This matter was referred to the Attorney General’s Chambers and the police were instructed to continue with their investigations.

It has been more than a decade since Teoh’s death that is still shrouded in mystery.

The Court of Appeal had in September 2014 set aside the coroner’s open verdict, which is a decision affirming the occurrence of a suspicious death but without specifying the cause. A three-man panel ruled that Teoh’s death was caused by multiple injuries from a fall from the 14th floor due to or accelerated by unlawful acts by unknown persons, which may include Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officers who investigated Teoh.

We hope that based on the Court of Appeal’s decision and recommendations of the royal commission of inquiry on Teoh’s death, the Attorney General’s Chambers can consider reclassifying the case and investigating it under more serious penal offences.

The Malaysian Bar also calls for inquests to be made into all cases involving deaths in custody as well as cases of suspicious deaths. The duty of a coroner is to carry out inquests into deaths and determine the cause and circumstances of deaths of those who died of unnatural or unexplained causes.

In this regard, we urge the government to introduce a Coroners’ Court Act – similar to that of Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK and other Commonwealth nations – that will strengthen the roles of coroners through fundamental structural reforms in its inquiry processes. The Malaysian Bar had in October 2020 submitted a draft bill to the Attorney General’s Chambers on the setting up of an independent coroners’ court.

READ MORE:  In light of coroner’s verdict, take stronger measures to safeguard rights of those in custody

Whenever a death in custody occurs, it raises questions and piques the public’s interest, which undoubtedly attracts media attention. Deaths in custody pose a threat to civil society that is governed by the rule of law; therefore it is essential that such tragedies must be avoided at all costs.

The Enforcement Integrity Agency Commission has an important function to monitor and counter deaths in custody.

The courts need to play a pivotal role by considering awarding substantial damages once liability is established in a civil suit. This is the way forward to ensure that justice is served.

Salim Bashir is president of the Malaysian Bar

This piece is reproduced from here and has been edited for style only

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
3 Dec 2020 3.46pm

I note very few Aliran readers are bothered about this news[till now]. I believe they are like me, disillusioned!!
I have also given it a pass until now. But I wish to get these thoughts off my chest.
Let’s be honest – if the DAP, while they were still in the government could not get justice for the late Teoh Beng Hock, does anyone seriously think this backdoor govt. will give a damn?

Yes, the late TBH case will forever be an indication of how the DAP leaders lost themselves in the government and forgot to seek justice for their colleague who lost his life for the DAP cause. Shame on them!
To his murderer/s, I believe there is a higher power than earthly one – when you meet your Maker, you will have to pay!!