From : www.malaysianmirror.com

The issue of political aide Teoh Beng Hock has taken on a bizarre dimension that could potentially deal an anguishing blow to the highly-rated Selangor state government.

It had come to a point where his family has been advised to lodge a report to urge the authorities to investigate the case as murder.

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And while a Royal Commission of Inquiry will begin its work next week to get to the bottom of interrogation methods used by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Khalid Ibrahim’s administration is also not likely to be spared of some severe questionings when the inquiry takes off.

Teoh’s ‘sudden death’ and the quirky sequence of events before the incident seem to be pointing to a nightmarish chapter ahead for the year-old Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor, which could likely also have dire consequences in other states held by the alliance.

Brickbats from Azmin, Wee

It started with the demand for a reshuffle of the state executive council by Bukit Antarabangsa state assemblyman Mohamed Azmin Ali, followed by accusations by Wangsa Maju MP Wee Chee Keong that hoodlums had penetrated into the offices of some exco members.

Seen from the public’s point of view, the accusations by the two PKR personalities against their DAP counterparts, which had come at almost the same time, had not been mere coincidence.

When MACC officers subsequently moved in to investigate certain exco members over alleged misuse of constituency funds, it somehow cemented the suspicions of the public that not all is fine and dandy in the state government.

Ironically, a street poll conducted by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research ahead of these events had shown a high approval rating for performance and efficiency in Khalid and his band of excos.

Pending the findings of the royal inquiry, a lot if speculations would be floating around and they are not likely to be complimentary, neither to the mentri besar and his administration nor to the Pakatan Rakyat alliance, headed by PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

It is learned that Anwar had wanted to chair a meeting with Pakatan chiefs to settle problems that had arisen in Kedah, Penang and Perak as well as in the just concluded Manek Urai by-election in Kelantan but Teoh’s untimely demise drowned all the other problems and the meeting was indefinetly postponed.

The unfortunate incident involving Teoh has, however, provided renewed zeal among the Pakatan camp to sidestep issues that had bugged them and to use the MACC as a scapegoat to rally support against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the Barisan Nasional.

Political mileage for Pakatan

There have been demonstrations, candlelight virgils, memorandums and petitions against the MACC and the Barisan and, almost overnight, the death of a young man has become the most volatile national issue since the political tsunami of March 2008.

Najib, his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein have tried to quell the unrest and had called for calm to allow investigations be carried out without provocation or interference.

But seeing the opportunity to get political mileage from the incident, it is not likely that Barisan’s opponents would be taking a respite from their incessant attacks on the federal authorities.

In a related development, businessman Tan Boon Wah, a Kajang municipal councillor, has filed an application to seek a court declaration on the interpretation of the phrase ‘day to day’ over the interrogation of witnesses, especially when it comes to overnight questioning.

Tan himself was quizzed by the MACC in its investigation over the alleged abuse of constituency funds by Selangor elected representatives. He is said to be the last person to have seen Teoh.

Taking things a bit further, state assemblymen Ean Yong Hian Wah (Seri Kembangan) and M Manoharan (Kota Alam Shah) have advised Teoh’s family to make a report to urge the authorities to investigate Teoh’s case as 'murder’.

Teoh, 30, was the political secretary to Ean Yong at the time of his death while Manoharan was reportedly the last person Teoh had called when he reached the MACC’s Selangor office at Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam.

Teoh was found dead on the fifth floor balcony of the building after he allegedly endured a marathon interrogation by MACC officials on the 14th floor from the afternoon of July 15 to the wee hours of July 16.

If indeed Teoh was murdered, like some people are inclined to believe, the question would arise: who is going to benefit from such atrocity?

Is it the MACC, which Teoh was helping in the investigations of the alleged abuse of constituency funds?

Is it the Barisan Nasional-led Federal government , which allegedly influence decisions by the MACC?

Is it the DAP, since the Selangor representatives being investigated by the MACC are largely from that party?

Is it the PKR or PAS, two dissatisfied allies of the DAP in the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor state government?

Or is it some ‘mafia’ groups that had allegedly infiltrated into the Selangor state government?

Thus, the issue is not just about the death of a politician’s assistant or a son of a poor taxi driver. It has taken on a frightening dimension that could shake the roots of the Pakatan state government.

What else was Teoh?

What else was Teoh? He was a former journalist at Sin Chew Daily and a former assistant to Petaling jaya Utara MP Tony Pua.

He was said to be also one of those people who video-filmed a fracas at Parliament House on March 25, involving Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh and some Umno Youth members.

It is said there were two video recordings of the incident, one by a DAP member of the Ipoh Timur division and the other by an aide of Tony Pua. The second video clip was downloaded on to YouTube and the person responsible for that was said to be Teoh.

The video clipping was used by Umno Youth to its advantage as it allegedly showed that the wing did not harass the wheelchair bound Karpal Singh. For this, the DAP camp was not pleased.

Following this incident, Teoh was allegedly transferred to the State Secretariat building in Shah Alam and worked as Ean Yong’s political secretary.

It was around this time that Azmin and Wee made their allegations. Teoh, being where the state excos have their offices, would have some inkling of any misdemeanours by the excos and whether the accusations were true.

It was also at this time that the MACC started to look at some files involving some state constituencies and the allocations that were handled by several state excos.

It must have been harrowing for Teoh to know, at least in bits and pieces, of what was happening in the exco office and the answers that he had to give the MACC if questioned about them.

No easy term for Khalid

When he was last seen resting on a couch at the MACC’s office, was it because he was drained out from the interrogations or was it because he had feared going out of the building in those early hours?

When he fell, was he screaming? Or was his voice muffled?

This is all for the police to find out and, hopefully, everything will be disclosed when the probe is over.

Politically, this issue is expected to fan right up to the next general election, which is expected in 2013. Will it help the cause of the Pakatan or will the tide change in favour of the Barisan?

Some of the answers had probably been buried with Teoh. But one thing seems clear: it is not going to be an easy term from now for Khalid and the Selangor state government which he leads.

Teoh’s spectre will either haunt some of the exco members or his youthful spirit will help them through the trying days ahead.


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Teoh's death mystery