Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Malaysia's greatest unsolved mysteries: Death-house MACC

CORRUPT BARISAN NASIONAL : You will not apply my precept, he said, shaking his head. How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? - Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four (Doubleday p. 111)
In 2009, Teoh Beng Hock was a 30-year old journalist cum political aide looking forward to his coming marriage. In 2011, Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed was a 56-year old Customs Department’s Assistant Director and a devoted family man.
The two are seemingly worlds apart, one was about to start a new chapter in his life and another was looking forward to his retirement.

Yet aside from their differing lives, both Teoh and Ahmad Sarbani carved their spot in Malaysian history and ignited the need to scrutinize the methods and activities of an agency tasked with combating corruption.
Both were called in for questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged corruption practices. Both died in eerily similar circumstances, death from falling out of the building housing MACC offices.
And in both circumstance, the media seems to point to the idea that these two men held suicidal tendencies that later contributed to their drive to commit suicide after being questioned by the MACC.
But suicide is not really that easy

Suicide is a convenient explanation for some one's demise and it provides an easy enough reason to sweep a person’s death under the mat.
Yet, in the case of these unfortunate deaths, logic and basic deduction can shed light on such obvious truths.
Then again, suicide is never easy to pull off.
Depression is often the core reason, one is driven to commit suicide and depression is a condition that takes years to crystallize within one’s personality. It grows like a cancer and in most cases it can be detected by members in a close knit family or among close confidantes.
In almost all cases a suicidally-inclined person would make their intentions known. This form of announcement is a last ditch attempt at gaining a measure of attention from friends and love ones.
In the case of Teoh and Ahmad Sarbani, their families have flatly denied both men had shown any form of suicidal tendencies the precursor to the action of taking one’s life. And at least in Teoh’s case, a measure of doubt has been raised by the courts of law.
The open verdict, ruled by the justice system for Teoh’s death, which lead to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into his death may prove the family’s case that Teoh was not suicidal.
Public confidence lost

The RCI in their own hearing has, thus far, proven that Teoh’s immediate employer, Ean Yong Hian Wah, was cleared from any wrong doing. The commission has also brought to light the non-professional conduct of various MACC officers who downloaded pornography whist conducting their investigation.
Such revelations have destroyed the public’s confidence in the capability of the MACC as an independant body entrusted to weed out corruption in Malaysia. Where within the ranks of the MACC themselves, officers are coached on how to answer to questions put forward to them at court.
The RCI into Teoh’s death is nearing an end but it is sure to reveal more details into the incompetence of the MACC to perform the task entrusted to them by the Malaysian public.
Ahmad Sarbani’s case is still under investigation but one should not be surprised if he too should be granted a royal commission, if investigations by the police fails to come to an accepted conclusion to his death.
Would MACC again attempt to hide the truth from the public?
Will MACC be allowed once again to washed their hands over the death of a senior officer, who came to their offices to aid in the investigation of the customs department?
Corruption in the MACC itself
Sherlock Holmes would have given an earful to the inability of the police to conduct an un-bias and comprehensive investigation into the death of Teoh. Holmes would have smirked at the way smoke-screens have been used to blind the public from the MACC’s incompetent ways, with the police investigation and apparent court case painting a picture of a distraught Teoh bent on jumping out of a window with any chance given.
It is all tooconvenient to put blame on a dead person. Yet, Holmes would have asked the obvious questions first before passing the blame to the dead men.
Why is the MACC not being investigated for possible murder if not man-slaughter charges? For it is clear that both deaths happened when the men were within MACC’s custody. MACC should then accept responsiblity for negligence in ensuring the safety of both men.
Why in light of all the obvious evidence, the MACC seems to have immunity from investigations by the police? Or are the police too trying to cover up MACC’s involvement in the death of the two men? Can the MACC itself be corrupted?
The truth may just be that MACC itself is corrupted.
Corrupted in the form of abuse of authority.
Corrupted in their high-handed painting of a picture that suicidal men make up the majority of the people called to their offices for questioning.
Corrupted in their internal collusion to cover up the involvement of their top-ranking officers in the investigations they initiate against Teoh and Ahmad Sarbani.
Corrupted in the sense that MACC knows, that no matter how wrong they are; their tracks will be covered up by other departments of a government already drowning in corruption.

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