PUTRAJAYA, Jan 10 ― As the legal fraternity welcomes the new year, the Malaysian Bar today once again reignited awareness and called for the government to bring closure to several high-profile cold cases.
Bar president Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor, in his speech at the launch of the Legal Year 2020 today, stressed how the dawn of a new decade should be followed by proactive measures by the relevant agencies to solve these cases and put investigations to rest.
Among the unsolved cases highlighted by the Bar president included the deaths of Teoh Beng Hock, Altantuya Shariibuu, Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed, as well as the alleged enforced disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat.
“In the dawn of this new decade, the Malaysian Bar urges to the government to bring closure to several cases caught in the twilight zone,” Abdul Fareed said during his speech this morning.
“Proactive measures with strong political will must be taken to do the needful so that the questions lingering in the minds of their families and the general public are answered.
“There are no limitations for criminal investigations and the truth in these cases must emerge,” he said.
In the case of Teoh, he was found dead on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, Selangor, on July 16, 2009, after giving a statement at the former Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) office located on the 14th floor of the same building.
In January 2011 the coroner’s court ruled that Teoh’s death was neither suicide nor murder, with the Court of Appeal later ruling that his death was caused by multiple injuries from a fall due to or accelerated by unlawful acts by unknown persons inclusive of the MACC officers involved in his investigation.
Ahmad Sarbani, a former Selangor Customs assistant director, was found dead in an open air badminton court within MACC’s Kuala Lumpur building in April 2011.
His death was judged by the courts as an accident, with others casting doubts towards the findings as the death came around two years after Teoh was found dead.
As for Altantuya, two former Special Action Force personnel from the Royal Malaysian Police were convicted of murdering the Mongolian translator in 2008, with their convictions later overturned and reinstated by the Appellate Court and Federal Court respectively in 2013 and 2015.
Recently, one of the convicted murderers Azilah Hadri released a damning Statutory Declaration from Kajang Prison implicating former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the one who gave the orders to execute Altantuya.
This has since triggered calls for a retrial of the murder while some have called it a desperate attempt by the convicts to escape the gallows.
Meanwhile, Koh and Amri were said to have fallen victim of enforced disappearances of the previous government according to findings of an inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.
Koh was last seen when was taken in broad daylight by a group of unknown men who surrounded his car on a public road in Petaling Jaya, Selangor on February 13, 2017, with no trace of him recovered since then.
Amri was 43 when he vanished without a trace on the evening of November 24, 2016 in Kangar, Perlis.
According to witnesses, his car was forced to a stop near his house after being surrounded by three vehicles before he was removed from the scene.
Around an hour later, security guards at a construction site near Padang Besar found Amri’s car abandoned and stripped of identification, with no one so far arrested or charged in connection with the case.