Monday, November 02, 2009

Bar Council: Royal Commission must have wide scope and powers (22/10/2009)

Malaysian Bar Council

No. 13, 15 & 17, Leboh Pasar Besar, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2031 3003 (Hunting Line) Fax: 03-2034 2825, 2026 1313, 2072 5818

Press Release

Royal Commission must have wide scope and powers
The recent testimony of Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand in the inquest into Teoh Beng Hock’s death once again raises serious issues that must be addressed.
The Malaysian Bar reiterates its call for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Enquiry (RCE) with a wide ambit to investigate the circumstances and cause of Teoh’s death and to conduct a concomitant review of the MACC’s interrogation and investigation techniques. These two aspects are intrinsically interlinked and cannot be analysed in isolation from one another.
It is evident now, more than ever, that the scope of the RCE’s investigation must not be limited to reviewing the MACC’s interrogation methods alone, as was proposed by the Government. While this must be a crucial element of the RCE’s terms of reference, it falls far short of what is imperative. The complexities of the case require nothing less than a holistic and inclusive examination of all the relevant facts by the RCE. Under the Penal Code, an inquest is restricted in its scope and findings, and would be far less effective than an RCE would be.
Teoh’s death is a matter of immense public interest that warrants the highest level of priority. It is indefensible that a witness in a routine investigation should have been deprived of sleep and interrogated for more than eight hours. Even more inexcusable and unacceptable is that Teoh was denied access to legal counsel during questioning.
We demand that the Government establish an RCE that is empowered to investigate the circumstances of Teoh’s death and to review MACC’s interrogation protocols and investigation techniques.
Ragunath Kesavan
Malaysian Bar
22 October 2009

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