WHAT happened to Teoh Beng Hock? How did he end up dead outside the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam?
These were some of the questions on many people’s minds as a crowd gathered in front of the building on the morning of 17 July 2009, a day after Teoh’s body was found on roof of the fifth floor. The MACC office is on the 14th floor.
Teoh, 30, was the political secretary to Selangor executive council (exco) member Ean Yong Hian Wah, the Seri Kembangan assemblyperson from the DAP, which is part of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.
On 15 July, the Selangor MACC, investigating allegations of misappropriation of state allocations, had raided Yong’s office. Teoh was questioned as a witness at the state MACC office in Plaza Masalam later that day.
At about 1.30pm on 16 July, a janitor found Teoh’s body on the fifth floor of the building. The police are investigating the case.
PR members and supporters held a candlelight vigil outside Plaza Masalam that night. On the morning of 17 July, several PR leaders went to lodge a complaint with the Selangor MACC. The leaders, who included Opposition Leader and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, and PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, started arriving from about 10am.
“The government says that people should not blame the MACC for [Teoh’s] death until the investigation is over, but we say that until they can prove who killed Beng Hock, the MACC should be held responsible for his death,” Lim told reporters later.
Anwar said the PR leaders have agreed that a royal commission should be set up to investigate the matter “because we have very little confidence in the MACC and police investigations.”
In the meantime, the Selangor government has decided to be more cautious with investigations involving its officers. “The state government has from now on decided not to let its officers leave their offices for investigations. The state government will provide lawyers to help the state’s officers when they are investigated,” Khalid said.
“Teoh was an officer of the state government, so the state government will help his family with all the arrangements for his funeral,” he added.
The police kept watch over the crowd that gathered in front of the building and later arrested seven people, including state exco member Dr Xavier Jayakumar, and Kapar Member of Parliament S Manikavasagam, both from PKR. Those detained were later released on police bail.