The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission may be trying its best to knock down the credibility of Thai forensic expert Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand. But lawyers acting on behalf of the family of Teoh Beng Hock have reiterated that she believes his death was homicide.
“She has confirmed the bruise was significant. It was a very large bruise caused by trauma, a blunt force. If we put this together, one inference is that some form of assault was carried out on Teoh Beng Hock before he fell from that window and it is possible when he fell he was unconscious. And the inference you can draw from that is obvious,” Malik Imitiaz Sarwar told Malaysia Chronicle.
Petition for a Royal Commission of Inquiry
Malik is the lawyer acting for the Selangor government, for whom Teoh worked as a political officer before his body was discovered outside the MACC building where he had been interrogated overnight in connection to a graft probe into his immediate supervisor Ean Yong and several other Selangor Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
It is believed that he fell from a 14th floor window in the MACC office. The graft agency has maintained he committed suicide, but his family and his colleagues believe foul play was involved and Beng Hock was tortured during the interrogation to extract false confessions to incriminate Ean and the other leaders.
Not surprising then that the Malaysian authorities have tried their best to chop Dr Pornthip down to size, even exerting political pressure on her bosses at the Thai Ministry of Justice to stop her from coming to Kuala Lumpur to testify.
Her testimony has certainly rattled the MACC, although the Coroner’s court conducting the inquest could still choose to follow the findings of 4 other Malaysian government-appointed pathologists and arrive at a death-by-suicide verdict.
Already, the Teoh family is bracing for that possibility and is preparing to submit a memorandum to King calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry.
For the Teohs, it is clear. Beng Hock could not have committed suicide. He was due to register his marriage on the day his body was found. He and his fiancée were expecting their first child and in the run-up to the fatal MACC interrogation, he had been calling up friends to check if they were coming to his wedding.
So far, public opinion is staunchly on the side of the Teoh family. Few have confidence in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration, which has only itself to blame for losing public trust after a series of actions perceived to be unjust including using the courts to deliver decisions that favor powerful politicians and their cronies.
In the case of Dr Pornthip, she was even called liar by a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri Aziz. Yet according to a Reader’s Digest survey conducted earlier this year, she is the most trusted individual in all of Thailand.
But that has not stopped the Malaysian authorities from trying to sour her image with the public. The latest scrape the MACC has fallen into is over a blog posting on its official website entitled "Dr Pornthip Ahli Nujum?" or "Dr Pornthip is a fortune teller?". The agency has denied it knowingly posted the article to dent her credibility and has ordered a probe to find out how the story could have entered its website. But its excuses were ridiculed by seasoned webmasters.
“The posting was not slapped on clumsily but in sequence with the other articles. So MACC should not try and say its website was hacked and unknown hackers booted up the article. That is really ridiculous and why few people believe in the MACC anymore. If some of their staff are not happy with Dr Pornthip and put the up story, just admit it. They should reprimand or sack those responsible instead of trying pull wool over the public’s eyes with all sort probes and funny excuses,” a prominent blogger told Malaysia Chronicle
Handwriting not his
All eyes are now on the September 1 mention date for the inquest. Teoh’s family is expected to dispute a “suicide note” purportedly found in October 2009, but which the Attorney General has kept quiet about all this while.
The note was suddenly introduced a week before Pornthip’s testimony on August 18 and there is widespread speculation that it was a preemptive strike to destroy her credibility and to cast doubt on her testimony that it was homicide and not suicide. The Teoh family have seen the AG's so-called "suicide" note and say the writing was not Beng Hock’s.