Like many others, I am appalled at the death of Teoh Beng Hock at the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission’s (MACC) building. But like them, I remain unsurprised.

The Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) has for many years had suspects and persons accused of crime ending up dead whilst being in their custody. Predictably no action was taken in most of those deaths. No reforms were carried out to stem the corruption in the RMP. MACC has in that respect raised the bar and outdone the RMP with the death of a mere witness who was in their custody. So let us applaud MACC for meeting expectations on their performance. I certainly hope that they will not live to their high standards so that witnesses and suspects emerge alive after their interview with them.

What I find disappointing with regard to this crime is that Teoh’s family and many others are calling the government to set up a Royal Commission to investigate. I am not sure who advised them to make such a demand and why others are calling for it, but it really is a very sorry demand. Those making such a call are asking for so much less than what Teoh deserves and speaks tellingly of an intellectual bankruptcy and the utter desperation in our country.

Why do I say this?

Firstly, the Royal Commissions of Malaysia are in truth the “Royal Circus of Malaysia”. There is acrobatics, illusions, mind-boggling stunts, pomp, fanfare, widespread media coverage, outstanding characters and a host of willing participants. The only difference is that the tax payers, you and me, pay for this circus instead of those who attend it. After the show, everybody goes home, discusses it at the kopitiam for a week or so and forgets about it. Corruption, abuse of power and elitism continues unabated, unrestricted, unlimited, and then intensifies.

Second, since the Royal Commission is really a circus, we cannot expect anything meaningful to come out of it. The purpose of a Royal Commission is the illusion of doing something meaningful when its true purpose is entertainment – both to the power elite and the rakyat. I am certain that those in power like to call this a “win-win” situation. The rakyat gets their little show of accountability and the powerful have the opportunity to show they care when they really don’t give a damn and are ready to blow any of us up if we become a real nuisance. Like Altantuya. Like Bala. Like Raja Petra. Like all those other people we don’t know who were killed on instructions of the powerful.

From my count from Wikipedia, we have had 9 Royal Commissions. Before calling for another, we should stop to ask what the ratio is of Royal Commissions held to meaningful significant reform occurring as a result of the Royal Commissions. The results are pathetic. Let us consider the last two Royal Commissions.

Has anything meaningful come out of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the VK Lingam tape in 2007? Former premier, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, confirmed before his retirement that of the four files opened in purported investigation, three have been closed for no further action. Naturally, he did not disclose what or who were the subject in those files that were closed and the one remaining open. VK Lingam is still happily appearing in court without any hindrance or difficulty. Tun Ahmad Fairuz is comfortably drawing his pension and retirement though the Commission found him to be lying. Tan Sri Vincent Tan is still a successful influential tycoon in our country. All those who stand accused at the Royal Commission are still going about their business as if the entire affair was one long, tedious and farcical documentary.

And has anything come out of the the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police held in 2004? Nothing, except the recent statement by the present Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, on 23 June 2009 to assure us that his Ministry will be completely ignoring the Royal Commission proposals and “come up with a new strategy to boost public confidence in the police force, instead of revisiting the 125 recommendations made by the Royal Commission’s report on the police.”

So if a Royal Commission is held for Teoh, that is what will happen. It will prove entertainment for the nation for a few days or weeks and then his death, what he stood for, what he tried and wanted to achieve for our country will be forgotten. This is a country that forgets easily. And nothing helps it forget more easily than circuses like this that reduce this tragedy into mere consumer entertainment – consumed and annihilated.

So I would urge forgetting about calling for the Royal Commission. Understand that it is a tool of repression. Do not be fooled by the label. The power elite are not going to do anything that would significantly harm their own self-interests. If this Royal Commission was really going to bring the perpetrators to the book, do you really think they will expose themselves to such a liability? No. There will be fall guys that will turn the entire proceedings into a charade. Look at the prosecution in the high profile cases – the mastermind is never caught. Only the actual hands of the operations, are charged and convicted. Altantuya is exemplary of this – the two Special Branch officers may have killed her, but what was their motive? They had instructions – who issued them? Who stands to gain from her death and their convictions?

Let us honour Teoh Beng Hock properly and take the cue from his family when they called for others to not politicise his death. Let us call for something meaningful and that would shame both the RMP and the MACC.

Let us call for Teoh Beng Hock’s death to be investigated independently by the Scotland Yard and then disclosed directly to the public by them. Let us leave it to the professionals and leave the politicians out of it. Leave it to an agency with no interest in our politicians or our system, whose only interest is in the culprits.

Because to call for the Royal Commission, would be akin to Teoh Beng Hock dying needlesly, wastefully and tragically, all over again.

Fahri Azzat practices the dark arts of the law. Although he enjoys writing and reading, he doesn't enjoy writing his own little biographies of himself. Like this one. He wished somebody else would do it...

17 replies on “Royal Commission = Royal Circus of Malaysia”

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  3. I have to admit the performance of past RCI has been farcical. And I cannot help but feel disgust at its pathetic track record. But I wasn't sure if you were being cynical with the call for Scotland Yard's involvement. The YArd investigated Bhutto's assassination, released their findings, and provoked more controversies. I'm sure Scotland Yard were professional in their task, but sadly they can only do so much when circus ringmasters remain to call the shots.

  4. Spot on mi Lord.

    Royal Commissions are a joke.

    I think the royal's get enough commissions already. ;)

    Let's also not waste any time on petitioning any of them either….

    Time to HARTAL my people! It is the only way….

    besides Mao's: "Change must come thru the barrel of a gun" that is.

    but I'm putting that option on the back burner.


  5. The RC will be another Looks Like me, Sounds like me BUT its not me Drama . Another Royal Circus in the making.

  6. Dear Fahri, it’s a contradictory (a mixture of pessimistic & optimistic) feeling to me. You opined that RCI would not work judging from the precedents & suggested to have Scotland Yard, well, we the people do welcome good suggestion & would like to see justice & truth to prevail but the reality is do they have the WILL & GUTS to do it? How many of us still have faith in MACC, PDRM, IGP & whatnot??

    Not so long ago, netizens said that MACC = "Mana Ada Corruption & Cronism" or “Malaysian Agency for Car & Cows” & now it has futher degraded to "Murderer And Crime Center". WHY?

    It’s not about sit & wait & do nothing or pretend that nothing has transpired. Yes, we need to keep on saying what we have to say, do what we can do & keep the momentum on just like what LKS did with regards to the PKFZ scandal. But what happened last week? It was reported that Ling was unable to recall some crucial details. So, what’s the implication of that? Another NFA case? Or perhaps I should remain “optimistic” & do not jump the gun before the investigation is completed.

    Though saddened & disappointed by the goings-on, I’m not giving up hope as I know it’s an uphill task to change the bad back to good.

    "Walk on x2, with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone, you'll never walk alone"

  7. Fahri,

    This is what was reported by the NST today quoting a senior Macc officer:

    "Teoh was not arrested or picked up by MACC officers. He was treated as a witness, not a detainee and as such did not require any escorts nor was he handcuffed".

    That is the reason why I say they didn't know the law. If they had a basic knowledge of the law, Teoh's life would have been saved. They would have allowed Teoh to leave the Macc office around 8/9pm with a request to come back the next day.

    The law is this; once you restrict and control the movement of a person and prevent him from going anywhere he wants, that amounted to a detention/arrest. It is only lawful and legal if that person is a suspect. But when that person is a witness, it becomes unlawful and illegal. And you don't interrogate a witness. You can only examine him orally and reduce his statement in writing as provided by the CPC. Examination must be conducted within reasonable hours and within reasonable duration.

    Ahmad Said and most Macc senior officers are also guilty of very serious corruption. If they investigate PR Exco's and Assy'man thoroughly and intensely even when the allegations of corruption are general but failed to investigate specific allegations of corruption against current or ex-Umno ministers/Exco/Assy, then they are guilty of the worst kind of corrupt acts which are punishable under the Macc Act itself. An 'act' includes an ommission to investigate and Macc officers are salaried to investigate cases of corruption against any person suspected of corruption. There is nothin in the Macc Act which says Macc only investigates all other persons exceptt Umno/BN ministers/Excos and Assy'man.

    As to Ahmad Said Hamdan, this guy is a complete joke with all his nonsensical statements on behalf of the Umno gov't. He should consider joining Umno for good. It saves taxpayers a lot of funds.

  8. Encik Azzat,

    I agree with you.

    How to initiate the process of getting in Scotland Yard into Malaysian soil? Please advise Teoh's boss and family or the public who feel so sore about Teoh's death.

    The PDRM and MACC officers are a group of animals, living by the rules of the jungle. They have no conscience. Their conscience can only be triggered when their loved ones either die of the same fate as Teoh or suffer terminal illness. I hope these circus animals will have their conscience triggered real soon.

    A Malaysian friend who has a relative working in the police force told me this long ago…during our University days in the UK:

    If the police has killed the victim under their custody, they will push the body down the building to make the death appear as a suicide. This is a clever cover-up for the police. A very neat solution they have come up with since they know the best cover up to deflect blame away. Then, they can answer "I don't know" to all the questions raised by the public and the victim's family.

    If during a car chase, the police has shot one victim, the remaining victims will also be shot. Otherwise, the remaining victims can act as witness. This way, the case can be closed out neatly….no messy trails and remnants.

    Reading about Teoh's death makes me sad. You are very right….there won't be justice so long as the circus performance is held.

  9. Dear Mattop,

    Thank you for your careful analysis of the facts. I am in agreement with you for the most part.

    Where I would depart is that 'these MACC officers don't know the law and don't really know what they are doing'.

    For myself, I prefer to proceed on the assumption that they are intelligent, not stupid. So they know the law. In any event, they are an institution and are to be presumed to know the law. Until they are willing prove they are so ignorant of it or are so inherently stupid, we must not presume as such even though every fibre of our being informs us that they are not just stupid but corrupt as well.

    To think that they acted in breach of the law because of ignorance is to be much too kind to the MACC. If they are that stupid/ignorant, they should not be there in the first place.

    The facts as they stand are these: (1) Teoh was brought in for questioning at and by MACC (2) Teoh was found dead at the MACC premises after what looks like a fall from the building. For me, the MACC either killed him or are responsible for his death until and unless they can demonstrate the contrary.

    But I don't hope for much with the present head of MACC there with a fetish for cows and cars and who makes announcements about the likelihood of prosecution for cases they investigate before the Attorney General even considers the papers. In an NST report dated 21/2/2009, he is quoted as saying:

    "We have completed investigations and we are satisfied that there are elements of abuse of power on the part of the Selangor menteri besar.

    "We recommend that prosecution action be taken against him," he said here yesterday.

    I thought that statement was unprecedented and rather stupid. If the AG does not take any further action on the case (or later loses the case after a trial), then it is clear that Dato' Sri Haji Ahmad Said bin Hamdan was wrong and is therefore unfit to hold his position. But since he won't be sacked unless he threatens the interest of the power elite, there is nothing for him to be worried about.

    Dear Mei1,

    Let them say what they have to. We keep on saying what we have to. Only a sick, perverted and twisted mind like those in the editorials of Berita Harian and Mingguan Malaysia can hallucinate a theory that Teoh's death was part of a conspiracy to weaken Malay controlled institutions.

    Firstly, the MACC is an anti-corruption sham agency. So it is not a 'Malay controlled institution'.

    Secondly, for all these talk about Malay interests – the primary ones causing havoc to Malay interests are the Malays themselves and certain elements of their cultural heritage (dengki, amok, dependent, for example). For example, the NEP during Mahatir's time saw the emergence of a few 'whiz-kid' 'bumiputera entrepreneur' being given cast economic interests to privatize. Those handful of millionaire malays were created at the expense of the hundred of thousands of malays who were not part or connected to the power elite.

    No, we should not wait until the next elections. Until it comes, I think we must work to expose and explain the endemic corruption in our government (be it Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional) and keep calling for an account.

    When there are robbers in our house robbing us and harming us, do we sit and wait until the police come (and maybe even join the robbers), or do we resist them immediately?

  10. I agreed with what you said. All Royal Commission investigations had done were under NFA in MACC and even PDRM.

    We really need to change our BN government. We understand that we have no choice to choose PR as there is no other oppesition parties to fight against BN.

  11. Ask the family to sue the Macc officers and Macclah. At least something comes out of it apart from the RC/Enquiry.

    From the facts of the case, Teoh was illegally and unlawfully arrested. The Macc said Teoh was a witness. He was not a suspect. But Teoh was picked up by the Macc at 5.00pm, brought to the Macc office against his will and he was not released until 3.45am. That is not the way investigation agency should treat a key witness under the CPC or the Macc Act. If a witness demands that the interview be stopped and continue the next day, the IO must obliged unless he is a suspect and under detention/arrest.

    What is telling is that Teoh's boss went to the Macc office at aroung 12 midnight and asked for his release and suggested that Teoh could return later for his statement to be recorded. But this request was denied by the Macc. It shows that Teoh's movement and freedom were restricted and at all times under the control of the Macc; meaning that there was a detention/arrest. A detention or arrest means the same thing. And you cannot detain/arrest a witness by restricting or controlling his movement. Any such detention is clearly illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.

    From the facts, there was clearly an illegal and unlawful arrest of Teoh who was just a witness and not a suspect to any suspicious acts of corruption. And assuming that Teoh was a suspect the Macc can't interrogate him at night until the wee hrs of the morning. A suspect or accused person should be sent to the lock up by 8pm and interrogation could only be done the next morning. This is clearly spelt out in the Lock up rules.

    Whatever it is the Macc officers had broken all the laws and the rules in this country. PR should get a good lawyer on behalf of the late Teoh and sue the Macc for illegal detention and unlawful arrest and other negligent acts.

    We are not sure and we are perplexed why the Macc is so over-zealous in its investigation by picking up and interrogating witnesses when they are acting only on a general information. According to the Macc director of investigation, which was reported in the press, the investigation commences from a general information that they received presumably from anonymous sources. Any idiotic investigator knows that a general information from an anonymous sources should first be verified before a full scale investigation commences. You don't go around verifying general information obtained from anonymous sources by seizing laptops, picking up and interrogating any persons you like. The Selanogr gov't should know that it is within their legal right to tell the Macc officers off if what they are investigating are only general informations and not specific informations of the commission of an offence. Specific infos are informations like Khir Toyo buying properties in Mecca in direct violation of the law; or the RM24 palatial mansion which is disproportionate to Toyo's known source of income or the commissions received by parties whetehr known/unknown for the military purchase of Scorpene and Sukhoi or the receipt or the agreement to receive monies by the Perak's three 'frogs' to jump ships. These are specific allegations and the Macc can hit the roof with their investigations in these cases.

    My take is that these Macc officers don't know the law and don't really know what they are doing. Their director said we are investigating general informations. Well somebody who had been picked up and detained by you had died. You broke all the rules and the law and therefore had to be answerable for it. My take like the Perak's case, the Macc chief may be too eager to see the collapse of another government.

  12. Scotland Yard? It's likely that you'll get these kind of responses from the authorities or Umno papers:

    "Don't meddle in our internal affairs!" or

    "It's an agenda to weaken Malay-controlled institutions" (taken from:

    "Adakah strategi untuk menggalakkan syak terhadap agensi kerajaan. Dulunya kehakiman kemudian polis, kini SPRM?" (taken from:


    I received the following sms twice today, it's about questioning the professionalism & the conduct of the MACC for the death of Teoh, the double standards they're practising, scot-free for the palatial mansion & billions scandal officers, to call white black, when will justice prevail? You reap what you sow, don't treat people like IDIOT, so come the next election you'll lose awfully!









    = Another mishap in Black Malaysia, and someone was caused to death this time around, yet no one knows the cause of the death, simply because there's no CCTV!

    = Beng Hock didn't take his dinner before he died, so he requested to see his lawyer, but his request was not permitted, and the reason for that is still remained as unknown!

    = Teoh suddenly plunged to death, assisting in investigation but ended as a corpse, 9 out of 10 questions were answered with "don't know" by the officers, worse still they lied nothing serious had happened!

    = When the conspiracy was unmasked, it's just too late for the resentment, a wonderful young man was no longer alive, and would never ever be able to see his mom again!

    = It was supposed to be a wedding day today, but the wedding had turned out to be a funeral, left only with a posthumous child, to keep the beloved one company for the rest of her life!

    = The one who bought mansion were not harmed, still earn steadily & sit comfortably in his Benz, billions Port Klang (scandal) is just a petty matter, blessed are the implicated high-rank officers!

    = The one should die doesn't die, the one shouldn't die lost his life, it's a common occurence to call white black or turn the truth upside down, when will Justice prevail?

    = The corrupt officers are just too shameless, implicated in favoritism for so many times, don't treat people like an idiot, BN to lose deadly in the general election!

    In other words, we've no other good choices now but wait until the next election??

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