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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Poll Position: The Teoh Beng Hock RCI - Conclusion, yes, but is there closure?

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The subject of myAsylum’s most recent poll: your thoughts on the outcome of the Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission of Inquiry. The poll closed at midnight this past Friday, and the results have been tabulated.

Poll Position results, image hosting by Photobucket

Quite overwhelmingly, the respondents were dissatisfied with the outcome of the inquiry. Looking at dissatisfaction in general, 92% felt dissatisfied to some degree, with a very large segment (81%) expressing total dissatisfaction. Only about 8% of respondents where satisfied to some degree, with only one respondent expressing complete satisfaction.

The actual results had 60 respondents choose one of the four responses. Two respondents, selected ‘Other’ and providing the following responses:

  • bull shit RCI – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to analyze that this pretty much meant 100% Not Satisfied.
  • it’s open ended. anyone to be charged?Walski made a decision to regard this as Somewhat Not Satisfied.

Granted that this was a simple straw poll, but it does reflect what Walski has read online – that the RCI brings us nowhere near to bringing the sad saga of Teoh Beng Hock to closure.
(no closure, and not much remorse, in the full post)

Walski is not sure if you have read the full Royal Commission’s report, which he had put up in the posting announcing the poll last week. Personally, Walski was somewhat satisfied, BUT only in as far as the commission laying accountability on the officers involved with the TBH interrogation. He was NOT satisfied with the finding that TBH committed suicide.

It’s one thing that a layperson like Walski thinks so, but quite another when a similar opinion was expressed by someone more knowledgeable in the area of law.

A respected former senior judge has branded the three judges on the Teoh Beng Hock royal commission of inquiry (RCI) “three blind mice” for concluding that the political aide committed suicide despite lacking expert opinion. Former High Court and Court of Appeal judge Datuk N. H. Chan said the commission had “no business” forming such an opinion as none of the experts it called upon gave the opinion that Teoh committed suicide.

He pointed out that this went against Section 45 of the Evidence Act 1950, which states that when a court has form an opinion on a point of science, the opinions of experts are relevant facts.

“Without any relevant fact, that is to say, without an opinion from an expert, a court is unable to form an opinion upon... the scientific point that Teoh Beng Hock took his own life. In this case, none of the experts gave the opinion that Teoh took his own life,” Chan said in an essay sent to The Malaysian Insider.
(source: The Malaysian Insider)

Pretty strong words, if you were to ask Walski. The former judge based his opinion on pertinent legal requirements. If you recall, an earlier Coroner’s Inquiry into the case concluded that Teoh Beng Hock died from neither homicide, nor suicide.

Understandably, the conclusion that the RCI has arrived at was not something the family of the late Teoh could accept either, and they are now considering whether or not to pursue a judicial review of the RCI’s conclusion and report.

Prime Minister Najib has urged Malaysians to not dispute the RCI report on Teoh (via Free Malaysia Today), stating that “the findings were based on truth”. Perhaps it would be a good thing for the PM to consider that another Royal Commission’s findings and recommendations were once upon a time disputed.

Walski reckons that it all depends on who the disputing party is, huh?

On a separate note, the MACC has responded by suspending the three officers named in the RCI report. But many Malaysians are probably asking: And then what?

In the meantime, as all of us are aware, another MACC interrogation resulted in an almost similar tragedy, ironically while the RCI was in session. So far, what the MACC has had to say is that they it study the report. Oh, and that the suspension of the three officers will not damage the morale of the commission.

Not exactly a show of remorse, if you ask Walski. Nor has there been any apology from the Malaysian government. But then again, that’s Malaysia for you – it’s probably easier to squeeze water out of a rock than it is for someone to say they’re sorry.

What happens next? Reckon that we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully, something really positive comes out of this latest RCI. But based on the track record of recent RCIs, Walski isn’t about to hold his breath any time soon.