Defending promotion, Putrajaya says officer never charged over Beng Hock’s death

The allegation by Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching (pictured) that one of the officers who interrogated Teoh Beng Hock was responsible for his death was merely her own ‘assumption’, a deputy minister told Parliament. — Picture by Choo Choy May
The allegation by Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching (pictured) that one of the officers who interrogated Teoh Beng Hock was responsible for his death was merely her own ‘assumption’, a deputy minister told Parliament. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR March 26 — The anti-graft officer implicated in the 2009 death of former DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock cannot be denied his promotion as he was never charged with any wrongdoing, a deputy minister said today.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim said that Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching’s recent allegation that Hishamudin Hashim, who was one of the officers who interrogated Teoh, was responsible for the youth’s death was merely the lawmaker’s own “assumption”.

In his winding up speech, Razali pointed out that Hishamuddin’s name was also not explicitly mentioned in the Court of Appeal verdict as the sole person responsible for Teoh’s death.

“I was informed by the police as per the statement issued on March 16 that investigations into the matter is still ongoing and was kickstarted immediately after the Appeals Court ruling in September last year,” Razali said in his winding up speech in the Parliament today.

In its September decision, the appellate court had ruled that Teoh’s fatal fall was caused by unlawful action.

Razali added previous findings by the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Complaints Committee, Teoh’s death inquest and the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) also did not find any criminal wrongdoing involving Hishamudin.

“Therefore, I would like to inform that contradictory to Kulai MPs argument, Hishamudin Hashim’s promotion is not in violation with any rules as it is in line with the rules and regulations of the Public Service Department (JPA), which highlights that when there is a vacancy for a position, all those who are eligible to fill the post and who were not charged of any crime and criminal wrongdoings will be considered based on merits and their performance,” he added.

“Therefore, Hishamudin Hashim is qualified to be considered based on the fixed regulations, since he was never charged for any wrongdoings.”

On March 9, DAP’s Teo Nie Ching today asked the police and Attorney-General’s Chambers to detail the action taken to reinvestigate Teoh;s death, noting that no progress was reported six months after the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

Instead, the DAP assistant national publicity secretary noted that the only related news to surface was Hishamudin’s promotion.

“While we are saddened by the fact that no one has yet to be charged for the death of Teoh Beng Hock, we notice that one of the MACC officers who last interrogated Teoh Beng Hock, Hishamuddin Hashim, is now promoted as the Director of MACC Sabah,” Teo said in a statement.

Teo pointed out that Hishamuddin was implicated in the RCI into Teoh’s death as one of three MACC officers who used excessive violence on the DAP aide.

Malay Mail Online understands that Hishamuddin assumed the role as the Sabah chief some time last year after another officer involved in the interrogation, Mohd Anuar Ismail was also promoted to Grade 48 from Grade 44.

Razali said today that Hishamudin’s posting as the Sabah MACC chief was due to the existing vacancy for the post, the latter’s periodic performance as well as the fact that no disciplinary action has been taken against him during his years his service.

The Court of Appeal ruled last September that Teoh did not commit suicide and directed the AGC to reopen investigations into his death while in MACC custody back in 2009.

In response, the AGC said then it would prosecute those responsible for the 30-year-old’s death, but noted that the “thorough” police investigation into the demise of Teoh, who was then Ean Yong Hian Wah’s political secretary, did not find any criminal liability.

Both the MACC and the AGC previously cleared the three MACC officers whom the RCI had pinpointed as driving Teoh to suicide because of their “oppressive, prolonged and aggressive” interrogation.

The RCI headed by former Court of Appeal judge Tan Sri Steve Shim had recommended that MACC take action against the trio.

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