I have never belittled Teoh Beng Hock’s family, says Muhyiddin

Teoh Beng Hock.

KUALA LUMPUR: Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today denied belittling the family of the late Teoh Beng Hock and his supposed remarks that the family wanted more despite receiving compensation in a civil suit.

In response to criticisms levelled against him by Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh, Muhyiddin said the DAP member may have misunderstood his earlier remarks.

“Did you hear me blaming the family?

“What I can say is, they have gone through a long process. We have had an inquest as well as a royal commission of inquiry into his death.

“I did not say that the family wanted more. Whatever it is, I leave it to the attorney-general (Tommy Thomas).

“He has already gotten in touch with me and he told me that he will issue a statement, possibly next week, to explain the actual situation.

“Please don’t misunderstand, MP Ramkarpal. He may not have heard the words himself.

“I have never belittled Teoh Beng Hock’s family,” he said at a press conference after attending the “Program Kelestarian Pertubuhan” at Rumah Puspanita here today.

Present were Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador and Registrar of Societies (ROS) director-general Masyati Abang Ibrahim.

Muhyiddin was asked to comment on Ramkarpal’s criticisms against him that his remarks that Teoh’s family “wanted more”, despite being compensated in a civil suit, gave the wrong impression that the family is demanding what it does not deserve.

Ramkarpal reportedly said the civil and criminal cases on the matter are separate issues. The civil suit has been settled without prejudice, meaning that it has no bearing on the criminal case.

Ramkarpal had also criticised the classification of Teoh’s death under Section 342 of the Penal Code for wrongful confinement, saying it was a far cry from the findings of the Court of Appeal that there were elements of homicide.

Muhyiddin had previously said that the government had gone through almost all the legal processes in relation to the case, including setting up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) and paying the family compensation.

“The family is not satisfied even though they have accepted the compensation. They are still urging for more action,” he was quoted as saying.

In 2009, Teoh, who was the political aide to then-Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, hours after he was interrogated by the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in its office on the 14th floor of the same building.

An RCI concluded that Teoh was driven to suicide by the aggressive interrogation methods used by MACC officers. It also blamed three officers for their aggressive methods which it said had violated procedures.

Last July, it was reported that the police would comply with instructions from the Attorney-General’s Chambers to conduct further investigations into Teoh’s death.