From Day One, the perception among many Malaysians was that there would be no finding of guilt in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest; no one would be implicated; it would be an exercise in futility. They were right on target, observes P Ramakrishnan.
After 18 months of foot-dragging, Coroner Azmil Muntapha disappointed everyone by returning an open verdict. He had found that Beng Hock did not commit suicide; he ruled out homicide; he confirmed pre-fall injuries to Beng Hock’s neck; he concluded that Beng Hock “was alive upon impact on the fifth floor”.
If he did not commit suicide and if there was no homicide how then did he land on the fifth floor? Did some evil force throw him out of the window? If there were pre-fall injuries to his neck, who inflicted these injuries when he was under the total custody of MACC officials? Surely there must be some conclusion that somehow these officials must have been privy to these injuries. Under the circumstance such an inference to this effect would have been justified.
We have Pornthip to be thankful to for establishing these pre-fall injuries. It was on her request for a second post-mortem that Beng Hock’s body was exhumed. If not for this, the inquest would not have found evidence of these pre-fall injuries raising questions as to who inflicted them and why.
We recall the assurance given by the Prime Minister that he would establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry if the Beng Hock’s family was not satisfied with the findings of the inquest.
Not only Beng Hock’s family but the vast majority of Malaysians are utterly disappointed with the conclusion.
From Day 1, the perception of the public was that there would be no finding of guilt; no one would be implicated; it would be an exercise in futility. They were right on target!
Aliran calls on the PM to establish a RCI forthwith. Only then, we can get to the bottom of the truth.
P Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran