Recently, some books in Malaysia, namely ‘Where Is Justice’, ‘1Funny Malaysia’, ‘Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Thing Vol. 2’ (I looked for this book in most major bookstores, and I could only find the first volume) have been confiscated. Thank God I was able to purchase the first two titles.
I’m writing from the point of view of a person who has been ignoring politics her whole life. I have never once voted. I’m one of those who strongly believe that ‘ignorance is bliss’. Thanks to ‘Where Is Justice?’ I realised my selfishness is one of the many reasons my country is still stuck in this political turmoil and I feel utterly shameful by it.
The book started with Teoh Beng Hock’s case, one of the many cases that raised innumerable issues and unanswered questions. Teoh was a 30-year-old assistant to Selangor Executive Councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah and was a witness in an investigation on his boss Ean Yong, who was alleged to have spent RM2, 400 on Merdeka flags in 2008, but to have never taken delivery of the flags. On 15th July, the MACC raided the offices of Ean Yong and Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San, confiscated Teoh’s laptop and took him for questioning which started from 8.45pm on the 15th July to the next day at 1.35pm. On that same day, Teoh was found dead on the fifth floor of a building extension of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, Malaysia. They said he had fallen to his death because he couldn’t handle the stress of being interrogated (then later said he was stressed because he had insufficient funds for his wedding), even though it was proven by Thai pathologist, Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand, who has three decades and 10, 000 autopsies worth of experience, that there was an 80% chance Teoh had been murdered.
Some issues and questions raised in this case were: why was his lawyer not allowed to be present during the interrogation? It was said he was released at 3.45am, but why was his hand phone still with MACC when it should have been returned to him since he has been released? Why would Teoh want to commit suicide on the eve of his wedding?
Next was the case of A. Kugan, an alleged carjacker who collapsed and died while in police custody on 20th January 2009. An absurd case, I must say. First, how could one die while in police custody? An initial post-mortem suggested he had died of fluid in his lungs, but his body showed bruises and wounds. Even the Health Ministry confirmed he was tortured! Second, months after his death, police found no evidence that he was involved in any car thefts; hence they cleared all charges against him. In other words, he died innocently. Third, the person who had beaten Kugan with a rubber hose couldn’t be charged because “There is no evidence that the deceased suffered instant death. Instead, the deceased died four days after the alleged beating.” I found this utterly preposterous.
Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered in Shah Alam in October 2006 by the bodyguards of then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Altantuya’s body was blown into pieces by C-4 explosives that were attached to her body. She was allegedly introduced to Abdul Razak Baginda, a defense analyst from the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre think-tank, by then DPM, Najib Tun Razak, and had a relationship with him. They first met in 2004 and their relationship ended in August 2005. She reportedly had worked as Abdul Razak’s translator on a deal he was brokering for the Malaysian government to buy submarines from France and wanted her commission of USD500,000 when the deal was closed.
This case is a mysterious one. These issues beg to be answered. As laid out by Kim Quek in his article, “Altantuya’s killing: Who gave the order?” how could the bodyguards (Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar) act without instructions from their superior? And Baginda is not even their superior. Also, what’s their motive of killing Altantuya when they don’t even know her? Why are Musa Safri (the one who sent Azilah to Razak) and Najib not brought into questioning since Musa reports to Najib?
The last of the major case in this book is that of the former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, who was beaten, brutalised and abused in police custody. The book closes with stories and cases of other men and women who died under the custody and protection of Malaysia government.
After reading all these cases, I begin to wonder, WHERE IS JUSTICE??? Are we going to let more victims die in vain?