Teoh Beng Hock's family will never get the justice Malaysians need - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Malaysiakini : "If you get back the power next time, please don’t forget Teoh's family, who have been waiting for 11 years."- Teoh Lee Lan, sister of Teoh Beng Hock
| Anyone who reads my columns understands that financial corruption,
especially when it comes to politicians, holds very little interest for
me. This is because a country can recover from a kleptocracy, but it
rarely does from a theocracy. In numerous articles, I
have attempted to hammer the point that religious extremism is the
existential threat facing this country. In Malaysia’s case, it is worse
because race and religion are not mutually exclusive.
every issue in this country is turned into a racial issue, which then
morphs into a religious issue. One such example is the murder of Teoh
Beng Hock, which I have been obsessed with over the past decade. Like
the horrors of mass graves at Wang Kelian, Beng Hock's case exposes the
underbelly of political power in Malaysia in a way that should shock
most of its citizens, but instead, it just becomes a talking point for
The propagandising of Beng Hock's death and that of
someone like firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim is similar, in the
sense that both are essentially racial narratives and show how the state
favours one over the other. When people say that Adib is a hero
for all Malaysians, the question becomes: are all Malaysians equal in
this country? Heroes transcend the banalities of race and politics - the
truly great ones anyway - so let's not play this game. In other words,
you will not see the state turning Beng Hock into a martyr for obvious
the death of a young Chinese man is consigned to communal politics
instead of a national narrative because the people who gain political
mileage from this tragic event have neither the political acumen nor
political will to frame this as a national dialogue. At the height of the media coverage of the death of Beng Hock, then New Straits Times group managing editor Zainul Ariffin Isa, as reported by The Edge Markets, wrote an op-ed piece in Berita Harian.
his piece, he suggested that there was "an agenda to discredit
government institutions like the judiciary, police, and MACC". The
institutions, he had to highlight, were staffed predominantly by Malays. Zainul
also alleged that some Selangor Pakatan Rakyat politicians at the time
had attributed some investigations into them as being racially
motivated. He also asked why the Selangor MB, who was also a Malay,
doubted the ability of his own people to act fairly.
When DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (below) attempted
to shift the blame for the failure to get justice for the family of
Teoh Beng Hock to current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, this is just
another example of how totally ineffectual Pakatan Harapan political
operatives were in solving long-standing issues which are important for a
certain section of their supporters.
fact of the matter is that Harapan - specifically its non-Malay
political operatives - is to blame for the inaction of the state when it
comes to discovering the truth behind the murder of Teoh Beng Hock. How
dare Guan Eng peddle the nonsense that it was “agreed” by the cabinet
to reopen the investigation but the then home minister, Muhyiddin, was
not interested in pursuing the case.
Indeed, linking the inaction
on Teoh's death to the then Harapan government with the political
manoeuvrings of the Sheraton Move is deceitful in the extreme. The
fact is, Guan Eng has no problem writing to the then attorney-general
(AG) about unfreezing the assets of a plutocrat but he dragged his feet
on pressuring his cabinet on the Beng Hock case.
couldn't go beyond having cosy breakfast chats with a "friend" who
backstabbed Harapan and holding press conferences where he assured
everyone that a timeline was being set to finally get justice for Beng
Hock. Forget about the whole “reclassification” of the case under then AG Tommy Thomas (below), which resulted in a flurry of correspondence between Beng Hock’s family lawyers and the AG's Chambers.
only thing you need to know is that the then AG was correct in his
statements that the reclassification did not mean that the
evidence-gathering process had stopped or that investigation into the
death was discontinued. The reality is that it was up to
the political apparatus to ensure that justice, through proper, legal
and administrative means, was finally delivered to Malaysians through
Beng Hock's family.
All this blame-shifting is merely a means for
political operatives to disavow their actions - or inactions, as is the
case when it comes to important issues for their supporters. If
Muhyiddin was not doing enough to start investigations, then what were
all the other Harapan ministers, whose portfolios were connected to the
Home Ministry or the state security apparatus, doing?
Why were the
MPs, who claimed that this was an important issue, not pressuring their
colleagues in the ministry to finally shine a spotlight on this issue?
Keep in mind that the murder of Beng Hock could have been used as a
launching pad for reform when it comes to the issue of deaths in
Where were all the high-profile ministers who had no problem lurking around when it came to the memorials for Beng Hock (below), but suddenly found themselves “voiceless” in the New Malaysia that we were promised?
must be a spit on the face for Beng Hock’s family that the
personalities involved in the death and farcical investigation of his
murder seeped into the Harapan bureaucracy and were strutting around as
if their sins had been washed away.
This, of course, is not
unusual. Remember when we thought that M Indira Gandhi's case would
finally be resolved with Harapan in power. Inspector-General of Police
Abdul Hamid Bador may have wanted to achieve a “happy ending” for all
involved. However, it was the public statements of M
Kulasegeran, who had championed the issue before Harapan become the
government, which revealed to us how the bureaucracy was working when
Harapan was in power.
It was reported: Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran (below)
says he can no longer get involved in M Indira Gandhi’s custody case,
as he is now a cabinet minister. "However, I am still trying to do
things behind the scenes, although I was advised to stay out of the
issue since I am no longer Indira’s lawyer. I could have done much more
if I was still in practice, but now I have been told to ‘mind my own
Keep in mind what the 95-year-old maverick said when he accused the MACC of selective prosecution and warned them that he would expose their wrongdoings. It
says a lot about Harapan when the person who led the government can now
threaten to expose the alleged malfeasance of the MACC if they continue
harassing his political operatives and totally ignore the fact that
Mahathir supposedly has “evidence” of wrongdoing, which should be
reported to the “relevant” authorities.
Do you think Beng Hock’s
family will ever get any justice when the people who advocate for that
are eventually told to mind their own business or shift the blame for
The tragedy is that Beng Hock is a martyr for a stillborn New Malaysia.