Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ronnie Liu Kicked Open MACC Door, Says Witness

The Commission of Inquiry into the death of Teoh Beng Hock heard last Wednesday that Selangor state executive councilllor Ronnie Liu had kicked open the MACC office door to enter on the day Teoh was found dead. Former Selangor MACC deputy director Hishamuddin Hassim said Liu and a number of other politicians had earlier gathered in front of the Selangor MACC office and created a commotion.

He said Liu who managed to enter the office, rushed to the room of an investigating officer, saying that he wanted to see MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Abu Kasim Mohamed. "He appeared angry and was taken to see Abu Kasim who tried to calm the situation. Abu Kasim said let the police investigate and if any MACC officer had caused Teoh's death, action would be taken," said Hishamuddin who is now Negeri Sembilan MACC director.

He said after the explanation, Liu voluntarily left the office. Hishamuddin said following Teoh's death, all the MACC officers involved in the investigation (into a misappropriation of funds case) were called by the police to give their statements, and he was told by his officers that no one knew what actually happened to Teoh and did not see him leaving the MACC office on July 16, 2009.

He said as the officer heading the investigation, he was shocked with Teoh's death and regretted it happened as Teoh was an important witness. Hishamuddin said on the night of July 16, 2009, he was in his office room studying the investigation papers until he fell asleep and woke up at 5.45am to send his child to school.

On public complaints that MACC officers used force during questioning, Hishamuddin said: "At the Selangor MACC, I had never received a letter of complaint against my officers, but we had a mechanism to deal with it if it happened." He said complaints against the MACC officers arose after Teoh's death, but he did not know who the complainants were and what the officers did to them.

"Witnesses came to the MACC office voluntarily and were not forced. If we did that, we could be embarrassed later on. We understand human feelings, so we took care of them. We were not even rude to them as they were important to us," he added.

Meanwhile, commission secretary Datuk Saripuddin Kasim in a press statement said it allowed the Selangor government's application to be an observer when Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand testifies this Saturday and Sunday.
However, if the state government wishes to be represented by a lawyer, it needs to apply to the MACC under Section 18 of the Investigation Commission Act 1950 (Act 119).

Spank the Monkey below for our exciting coverage of this "PeterPorn" exchange

TBH RCI: Investigators ignored instructions in memo

Investigators Mohd Anuar Ismail and Mohd Nazri Ibrahim ignored a memo that said witnesses and guests at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office must be accompanied by an officer at all times, a former Selangor MACC deputy director said.

Hishamuddin Hashim, who is now the Negri Sembilan MACC chief, told the Commission of Inquiry into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock that he issued the memo.

Asked by commission chairman Tan Sri James Foong what happens if a witness wanted to stay back to rest or was frightened to leave the premises after questioning, Hishamuddin said: “An officer has to wait with the person.”

Mohd Nazri Ibrahim is also the officer who had earlier admitted that he amended his investigation diary on Teoh Beng Hock after consulting his colleague to come up with a consistent story.

Foong then asked Hishamuddin if he felt responsible for what had happened. Hishamuddin replied: “Yes, because all investigative operations, documents, witnesses are my responsibility.” Hishamuddin told the inquiry that Mohd Anuar and Mohd Nazri were responsible for leaving Teoh unsupervised at the Selangor MACC office on July 15 and July 16, 2009.

He said this was because Mohd Anuar was the investigating officer of the case involving Teoh while Mohd Nazri, who had recorded the political aide's statement, was the last person to have been with him.

British forensic expert Prof Dr Peter Vanezis testified that he disagreed with the finding of his Thai counterpart, Dr Porntip Rojanasunand, that Teoh could have been strangled. Dr Porntip had stated the bruising near Teoh's neck region could have been due to contact with a blunt object and was consistent with manual strangulation.

Replying to questions by MACC counsel Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Dr Vanezis said there was no indication of strangulation. He reasoned that Teoh's injuries were consistent with a fall from a height as well as with someone trying to break his fall.

Dr Vanezis said it was also his opinion that Teoh was alive and conscious when he fell. He said the question that should be asked is how Teoh had plunged from the 14th floor. “There may be a number of reasons. There is the possibility that he tried to kill himself, or was forced out the window,” said Dr Vanezis.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

TBH RCI: Witnesses are obliged to cooperate in MACC investigations

A former Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy director said witnesses were obliged to cooperate in MACC investigations.

Hishamuddin Hassim told the RCI that witnesses were bound by Section 47 of the MACC Act to give information and they could not avoid it.

He said the MACC referred to the Confidential General Circular No. 1/84 issued by the Chief Secretary to the Government to obtain information from witnesses in the government bodies and agencies while for the corporate sector, MACC officers would seek permission from the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) or MACC senior assistant commissioner.

Hishamuddin said although they had the power under the law, MACC officers observed decorum in obtaining information.

“Throughout my service with Selangor MACC from 2002 to 2010, I had not faced problems when dealing with government officers. But there were corporate bodies which sought written permission from the DPP. We would apply for it and faced no problem in getting the notice,” said Hishamuddin who is now Negri Sembilan MACC director.

Asked by Foong what would happen if a witness refused to cooperate, he said government employees could not disobey under the legal provision and the DPP could issue a notice, but it depended on the situation as corruption cases were not the same as rape or murder cases.

Hishamuddin said the authority to investigate the case involving Teoh was given verbally to him by the DPP and the director of the Legal Division was informed about it. He, however, did not see the approval letter.

TBH RCI: Dr Vanezis disagrees with restrained, rendered unconscious and thrown out of window theory

Dr Vanezis dismissed the Bar Council’s theory that Teoh Beng Hock was rendered unconscious with an elbow hold, thrown out the window by panicked officers and then regained consciousness as he was falling.

Vanezis said that it was the “most unlikely” theory in replying to Christopher Leong, who asked if he (Vanezis) agreed with the theory.

“Teoh could have possibly been restrained. (The neck hold) which could have injured the carotid artery or the vagus nerve (both located at the neck region) could have rendered him unconscious,” Leong said.

“The person or persons who were present did not know what had happened and had applied CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) to Teoh. As they thought Teoh was gone, they decided to throw him out the window.

“But during the fall, he regained consciousness…” he added.

Vanezis said the scenario was extremely unlikely and “it is a great leap of faith” to infer that Teoh was unconscious at some point and conscious at other.

Leong: Is this your way of saying ‘it is possible?’

Before Vanezis could reply, RCI chairman James Foong interjected, saying the theory was unlikely because if the officers were acting in conspiracy, they would have taken time to deliberate whether to throw Teoh out.

“If you were acting in conspiracy, you would have stopped and discussed before deciding to throw him out. The time spent would have been quite long,” he said

Leong: Stranger things have happened.

Foong: Anything is possible… some would say yes and some would say no.

Leong asked Vanezis the rate at which a person would regain consciousness if he had been “neck locked”.

Vanezis said that a person could regain consciousness but the recovery rate differed from each person.

“It can be complicated… it is very difficult to say.”

He added that the only way to find out was to ask those who were present at that time.

Leong was pursuing the “strangulation angle” which he had earlier brought up. He was focusing on the bruise on Teoh’s neck which Thai forensic expert Dr Porntip had suggested at the inquest could have been caused by a blunt object.

Leong said that the bruise could have been caused by a blunt object pressed on Teoh’s neck for a long time and asked Vanezis if he agreed that the mark could be caused by strangulation.

Vanezis: I disagree. It is related to hyper extension (the movement of the neck backwards, as a result of the impact of the fall). It does not have that pattern of forceful brusing that Porntip was talking about. In my opinion, it is more connected to other injuries sustained through the fall. The bruising is not extensive.

He added that strangulation would have caused more extensive injuries to the neck and he would have expected to see “peteciae” in the whites of the eye.

Peteciae, he explained, is asphyxiated blood which stagnates in the facial area as capillaries break when the blood cannot flow back into the heart. They generally tend to appear as small blood spots in the white of the eyes and sometimes in the mouth.

Vanezis added that he could not examine Teoh’s eyes to check for peteciae at the second post- mortem on Nov 22, 2009 as the eyes had become decomposed at that time.

Leong said that peteciae was important as it would help rule out foul play. He asked Vanezis why it was not mentioned in Khairul Azman Ibrahim’s post-mortem report. Khairul was the government pathologist in charge of the first post-mortem.

Leong: The issue of strangulation is very important. Were you suprised that it was spotted but not (included) in the report? In your briefing on the second post-mortem, would it have been something you would have asked?

Vanezis said that he could not remember the exact words during the briefing regarding peteciae.

Earlier, Leong had singled out three injuries – hairline fracture, bruise on Teoh’s neck and the tramline mark on Teoh’s chest – and asked Vanezis if these injuries could have been caused before Teoh fell.

Vanezis said that it was possible that the bruises could have been sustained before the fall, but added that it came down to a question of “degree of likeliness” in that the bruises could have likely occurred as a result of the fall or otherwise.

“When I looked at the injuries I was looking to see if they were consistent with the fall,” he said, adding that the injuries needed to be seen in some perspective.

TBH RCI: Skull fracture might be due to a fall from a height and to excessive strain.

Dr Vanezis said the possibility of injury to the skull induced pressure on the flat surface. He said this same force caused injuries to the deceased's pelvis, and upper and lower limbs, including those areas of tissue damage.

Questioned by Christopher Leong on whether the skull fracture was caused by beatings with blunt objects, Dr Vanezis said: "There was no indication the deceased was injured by a blunt object."

Dr Vanezis disagreed with the theory of Thai pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand that bruises found on the neck of the deceased were caused by strangulation.

"There was no evidence that Teoh's neck had been compressed, as with strangulation. The bruises on the neck region were part of the overall injury from the fall," he said.

The British pathologist noted no effect or cracking finger around the neck and bleeding around the eyes that was common if the dead was strangled.

Replying to conducting officer Amerjeet Singh, Dr Vanezis, the 27th witnesses, said if there was prolonged neck lock, there would be signs of asphyxia which was not present here.

He also told the inquiry that the fracture in the bones showed the victim landed with his feet when falling, and this showed that the deceased was conscious when he fell.

Questioned by Tan Sri James Foong on whether there was possibility of the deceased slipping from the window, Dr Vanezis said: "I was told there were shoe marks in the window frame, where the deceased might have sat for a while before stepping out of the window."

Referring to the bruises on Teoh's chest area, he believed the bruises appeared due to pressure from his clothes.

TBH RCI Dr Vanezis cannot rule out possibility there could have been one or two blows.

Teoh Beng Hock could have sustained several bruises before falling nine floors two years ago, the royal commission of inquiry into the political secretary's death was told today.

Bar Council lawyer Christopher Leong also suggested to forensic pathologist professor Dr Peter Vanezis that Teoh could have received “one or two blows” to the chest prior to the fall.

Agreeing that there is a likelihood, Vanezis said: “I cannot rule out the possibility that in isolation there could have been one or two blows which could have caused light bruising (on the chest).

However, the tramline bruises to the chest, as well as bruises at the neck region and the hairline fracture to the skull, were not clear enough to prove Teoh was hit, stressed Vanezis, giving it as his opinion that they were pre-fall injuries.

The expert, who had previously testified at an inquest into Teoh's death, had ruled out suggestions that Teoh was strangled and concluded that he was fully conscious upon the fall.

He supported the theories of government pathologists Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim and Dr Prashant Naresh Sambekar that Teoh's death was an act of suicide.

Leong suggested that the pressure to the chest was similar to that used for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) which could cause bruising, as the revival method used commonly in cases of cardiac arrest, could cause fractures to the sternum located at the chest area.

The medical science professor, however said that the fractures to Teoh's ribs identified in the post mortem were “extremely unlikely” to have been caused by CPR and were most likely caused by transferred force from the fall.

Malaysian Sex Video Stars

The public will always take an interest in such cases, and politicians and other public figures will do well to remember that when they choose to enter public life and service, they forfeit the right to total and complete secrecy as to how they live their lives.

On the other hand, the public would do well to remember two things.

First, public figures, like the rest of us, are still entitled to a measure of privacy. Second, the intrusion into the private lives of politicians and other public figures are not embarked upon to serve the better interests of the citizenry, but the political ambitions of those behind these deeds, and, it must be seen and condemned as such, lest we unwittingly propagate the proliferation of gutter politics.

D P Vijendran withdrew from politics and went on to build a successful legal practise after his sexcapade was made available to all Malaysians.

Chua Soi Lek lost his government posts but made a spectacular recovery and went on to become the president of MCA.

Elizabeth Wong continues to serve her constituents in Bukit Lanjan and enjoys their support.

Malaysians displayed a level of political maturity sufficient to recognise that such exposes as no more than character assassinations, not founded on the considerations of the well being of the public at large, but grounded on some surreptitious, self-serving, political agenda.

Let us now address the alleged Anwar sex video. Is the man in the video really him?

Now that the identities of the Datuk Trio are known, can it be said beyond any doubt that they were motivated by nothing other than the well-being of the Malaysian people?

While I personally have no love for Anwar, their identities would suggest a political agenda to bring him down.

I will not attempt to list their motivation here as it has been well publicised in all the various media.

Zaid Ibrahim has also joined the lynch mob calling for Anwar’s head.

He has been quoted to say “You cannot blame these three who are doing a public service. If I had such a video in my possession, I would also disclose it because it involves the opposition leader and future prime minister. Isn’t that enough public interest? Don’t you want to know the real man?”.

Ironically, not too long ago, Zaid himself was the subject of a smear campaign during the Hulu Selangor by-elections. He did not take too kindly to the ‘ public service’ when it was directed to him then.

And now it appears that the Police are considering calling in Hip Hop rapper turned film maker Yusri Abdul Halim of KRU for an expert analysis of the authenticity of the video.

The Spanker says the questions we have to ask are –

1. Given Yusri’s own chequered sex scandal gossip past, will Malaysians buy his expert opinion?

2. Won’t Anwar’s supporters attack Yusri’s credibility with his own colorful past to discredit his analysis?

Sigh...the circus will then start all over again, wont it?

PKR says no legal provisions to protect ‘Datuk T’

There are no legal provisions protecting the “Datuk T” trio, PKR lawmakers charged yesterday.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said yesterday that the trio- former Malacca chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, businessman Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) treasurer Datuk Shuib Lazim will be protected under the Witness Protection Act and Whistleblower Act should the authorities feel they have a case.

“Nazri is contradicting what was said by his deputy, Datuk V.K Liew in Parliament on April 20 2010,” said Balik Pulau MP Yusmadi Yusoff today, who was accompanied by PKR’s Datuk Johari Abdul and Abdullah Sani.

According to the MP and lawyer, Liew had stated that individuals could not be protected under the Whistleblower Act if there was no form of correspondence with the media.

“The media is not listed as part of any enforcement agencies,” said Yusmadi.

Following the revelation, the three individuals came forward to be questioned by Bukit Aman police and handed over the video and an Omega watch for further investigation.

“These are not witnesses... this was a well planned operation... they even called top news editors, not just journalists to view the video,” said Yusmadi.

Bungling Bung Bemoans Bimbo Benders

Try saying the title fast three times in a row and see where your tongue ends up. But seriously, folks, Bungling Bung has again put his foot firmly in his err.. bunghole. Perhaps his parents knew a thing or two when they named him “Bung”.

The Kinabatangan MP singled out the female gender yet again and this time labeled women as "reckless drivers" in Parliament. When things go wrong for Bung, it is rarely the mens fault. This time, Bung blamed reckless drivers, “especially women drivers”, for being traffic hazards and said that these women were a major cause of traffic accidents.

But who taught these women to drive in the first place? And who issued the license for these so called “traffic hazards” to be let loose on the roads?

The answer to both the questions is “men”, of course. It is very rare to find a female driving instructor in Malaysia and rarer still for a woman driving examiner.

Bung said of women drivers, “They relax; think that because they are inside a car the world is theirs. They don't look left and right and when we honk they get angry. There are times when we honk, they show all sorts of sign language”. "Honk" is the American version of the British "Horn". Could Bung have been excessively horny then?

What he has just described is applicable to men, too. In fact, men can be more reckless than women. They also take more risks, drive too fast, and are more prone to road rages.

All Malaysians, not just Malaysian women, are infamous for their road manners, road indiscipline, lack of road courtesy and neglect of simple traffic rules. Bung himself comes with a tarnished reputation. He is reportedly rude, uncouth, sexist and arrogant during parliamentary exchanges.

Last August, he was in court for committing polygamy. He pleaded guilty to marrying another woman, without the consent of his first wife and the court.

Undoubtedly, his failure to register the marriage is the “woman’s fault” or could it be Zizie Izzete’s driving that he’s ranting about?

It is a shame that despite the controversy Bung raised over the "monthly leakages" remark in 2006, he still has not learnt to recognize women as equals.

We are already in the 21st century where women have made great breakthroughs in all fields as equals to men. There are women heads of state, successful entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, social workers and educators as a small sampling of their prowess.

Bung should be compelled to undergo a mandatory course on gender equality and respecting women as equals. There is simply no room for misogyny as Malaysia progresses to achieve Vision 2020 to be a fully developed nation.

The question we have to ask is “Do we really need an MP like Bung Moktar who is a perpetual embarrassment”?