“We want to establish the truth and nothing but the truth … it is important for us to ensure that public faith and confidence in important institutions,” Dato’ Seri Najib was reported to have said when he announced that the Board of Clowns (here known as “the Cabinet”) approved the setting up of another Royal Malaysian Circus.
Then he said that the Royal Malaysian Circus would not be concerned with investigating Teoh Beng Hock’s death. Instead “[t]he royal commission will look into the standard operating procedures of MACC”. That is fantastic news for circus goers. Although I wonder whether it is a bit soon considering the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 was effective since 1 January 2009. I would have thought that they would have revamped their standard operating procedures to coincide with the rebranding of the Anti-Corruption Agency.
Since our government claims efficiency and competency, let’s assume they did. That means 7 months in after launching this spanking new Commission they need to review and revamp their standard operating procedure? (As an aside: “Commission” is the government’s favourite word for now. They think things become more efficient if you use that word. But we all know that when the government uses the word “Commission”, what happens after that is “Omission.”) Which morons did the procedure for the MACC when it was first launched then? Now let’s make the likelier assumption – they didn’t. How appalling! How negligent! How typical!
In any event, Dato’ Sri Haji Ahmad Said bin Hamdan, the head of MACC who has a proclivity for stuffing his foot down his throat in the full glare of the public should resign. Moo.
And I think I already know what the formal name for the circus will be: Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police. Sorry. That was the 2004 one. The same one that the present Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, on June 23, 2009 assured us will be completely ignored and that they will “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.” The name will be: Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Clever, eh?
At least we now know that the Royal Malaysian Circus set up this time is pure entertainment without any pretence to accomplishing anything. And let’s get real – the MACC messes up not because the lack of proper procedure, it’s because they ignore procedure or have rogue officers or heads. Most failures in our country are not for want of laws, procedures and rules. The failures in our country are because of corruption.
So who will be actually investigating Teoh’s death? Dato’ Seri Najib was reported as saying that an inquest will be held to determine Teoh’s cause of death but then in reply to a question about the time frame for investigations he says, “I know the police can wrap up investigations very soon. We are talking about a matter of days but the inquest is up to the magistrate to decide”. Hmm.
I don’t understand what this is supposed to achieve. Aside from nothing meaningful.
An inquest is usually held when the cause of death is unknown or it was a violent death. And it usually happens when the coroner is unable to record the cause of death of the deceased after a post-mortem. It is also carried out when there is a death in the custody of authorities. The purpose of an inquest is very limited. Its purpose is to discover the cause of death only. It is not there for the purposes of attaching liability to anybody although that tends to follow as a matter of course in certain cases. The prosecution may also consider prosecuting at the conclusion of an inquest if the evidence seems to point towards a protagonist.
Where the inquest is concerned, I would agree with Mr. Ragunath Kesavan, the Bar Council President, when he said:
In this case, there are more answers needed than just the cause of his death. An inquest would be insufficient to address these questions.
Well aside from the fact nothing happens after an inquest. The reasons Ragunath and Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu gives for supporting the Royal Malaysian Circus however are profoundly disappointing as it lacks any critical reflection and an appreciation for history. And they certainly do not speak for me so I don’t know how Ms. Reena Raj came to the conclusion that there was “consensus” among the legal fraternity and SUHAKAM by speaking to Dato’ Siva, Ragunath and Datuk Baljit. Maybe for her 3 out of some 12,000 plus form a consensus. Maybe that’s the Malay Mail standard. Maybe Ms. Reena Raj should use a dictionary before she picks up a pen.
Clearly the police investigation is the only meaningful and proper course of action in this case and Teoh’s death should be classified and investigated as murder until evidence proves otherwise. Let’s consider the relevant facts:
The common factor in all these facts is MACC. How can any reasonable and sane person form anything other than the first impression that MACC are somehow related to his death?
But with the Royal Malaysian Circus purportedly investigating the MACC standard operating procedures and the Magistrate purportedly investigating the cause of Teoh’s death, what exactly are the police investigating? That’s what I would like to know.
How zealously will the police investigate the MACC? Isn’t it in the interest of the police to maintain a good and reliable relationship with the MACC for purposes of avoiding liability?
And surely something is very wrong when the MACC which was just revamped and relaunched 7 months earlier to eradicate corruption in agencies like the police are now instead being investigated by the police.
That all these three initiatives are to be taken simultaneously indicates that all this is done to show that something is done when actually nothing will be done. If you think about it, none of these measures even suggest that a crime has been committed. It merely suggests and inefficiency on MACC’s part. Not a death. Not a tragedy.
Because this is Malaysia and the culprits, the crooks, the corrupt will get away again. They will do so after spending a whole lot of our money with the circus. They will do so after wasting a lot of our time and effort. And they will keep doing it again and again. Because we let them.
The question now is, do we want to be entertained or stand up and be counted?