KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — DAP lawmakers have today called for a special task force to be set up for other ‘unsolved’ deaths in custody cases.
Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said this in reference to an announcement made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Yaakob on a special task force for the purpose of looking into the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
“There should also be a special task force on Teoh Beng Hock and other police custodial deaths as well as on the performance of the current Attorney General to ensure that the formation of the special task force is not about revenge politics but about ensuring that justice is not only done but seen to be done.
“DAP has no objection towards the special task force announced by the Prime Minister to look into the unsolved death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, which is an open admission of failure by the Federal government,” said Lim in statement today.
He also said that the current leaders of government, who once accused Pakatan Harapan (PH) for not arresting the ‘murderers’ and charging them in court, seemed to have lost interest in Adib’s case over the last 20 months.
“It was only until they were reminded by PH MPs repeatedly of their promises on Adib, the government decided on this delaying tactic of setting up a special task force on Adib.
“If there is a special task force on Adib, why is there no special task force on Teoh Beng Hock and other police custodial deaths?
“There is a need to seek justice for those who lost their lives whilst detained by either the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or the police. Every life is precious,” Lim added.
Furthermore, Lim said if the government deployed a special task force to investigate former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas on his allegations of judicial abuse and interference, there should be, in all fairness, a special task force on current Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun’s role.
“Idrus had attracted controversy over dropping of charges of corruption and abuse of power of several politicians who support the current Federal government.
“Idrus had also gone against the King’s wishes in disputing his command that Parliament should convene meetings and that the Emergency Proclamation should be debated and decided in Parliament.
“This misconduct is equally serious and should merit the investigations of a special task force headed by a former Chief Justice,” said Lim.
Similarly, DAP National Legal Bureau chairman Ramkarpal Singh said the announcement by the Prime Minister that three task forces will be set up to look into the case of firefighter Adib, the allegations of the former AG in his recent autobiography and the Pulau Batu Puteh is welcomed but he must explain why other cases which remain unresolved are not being treated the same way.
“One such case is that of Teoh who mysteriously died in 2009.
“Despite a finding by the Court of Appeal that Teoh’s untimely death was ‘as a result of or which was accelerated by an unlawful act or acts of persons unknown, inclusive of MACC officers’, investigations have yet to be completed even with the setting up of three task forces in 2012, 2014 and 2018.
“This raises serious questions as to the effectiveness of such task forces, as surely investigations into the matter ought to have been completed after 12 years,” he said in a statement today.
Ramkarpal said those responsible for the death of Teoh must be charged accordingly and his family will be filing a suit in the near future in the High Court compelling the police to complete their investigations as it is beyond doubt that 12 years is certainly an unreasonable time to conclude the same.
“Ismail Sabri must also explain why there has been no conclusion into the investigations of Altantuya Shaariibuu who was murdered in 2005.
“Although the actual perpetrators have been convicted, the mastermind behind the murder remains unknown.
“As it is obvious that the said perpetrators had no motive to murder Altantuya, the failure to identify and charge the mastermind has given rise to a perception that there is a cover up, which cannot be allowed to continue,” he said.
He reiterated that the cases of Teoh and Altantuya must be resolved and it remains to be seen if the government of the day has the political will to do so as there must be finality and closure for the families.
“The setting up of task forces is all well and good but whether they will bear fruit is another matter.
“In the circumstances, I call on the PM to announce the measures the government intends to take to resolve both these cases forthwith, failing which the perception of a cover up will remain,” Ramkarpal said.
Yesterday, Ismail Sabri said the Cabinet has agreed to set up a special task force to conduct a preliminary study before any further action is taken on the allegations of former attorney-general (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas in his book My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.
He said the task force will be chaired by a former chief justice who will be appointed soon.
He said the proposed special task force, among others, will focus on investigating Tommy’s allegations of abuse of power in the appointment of judges.
The team will also investigate allegations of executive interference in the judiciary, selective and political prosecution as well as breaches of the oath of secrecy.