On The Beat
By WONG CHUN WAI
TEOH Beng Hock is buried and his family members, especially his fiancée, are beginning to pick up the remaining pieces of their lives.
But the politics of the dead DAP aide has just begun. His family had wanted the funeral to be a private affair and stressed to reporters that they have no interest in politics.
They politely received leaders from the political divide who paid their respects at the wake. They said they merely wanted answers.
In fact, the late Teoh’s parents said they had been against their son’s involvement in politics, and his fiancée said he had talked of giving up his job and settling down in Malacca.
But they did not get their way. In the end, the funeral became a huge political event.
For older Malaysians, it was reminiscent of the funeral marches with banners and flags of Socialist Front members in the 1960s.
The post-Teoh Beng Hock political fight has started. His face has taken over those of party leaders as a reminder to voters, and at ceramahs, he is the single issue.
On Wednesday, the inquiry into his death will begin. From Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) officers to family members to reporters who were the last to text him, all would be called up to testify at the hearing.
At their end, the police are already wrapping up their investigations and are expected to close the case any time now.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry will look into the procedural aspects of the MACC in carrying out its investigations.
It is likely that the members of the Commission would be named soon so that they can start work.
Among the questions the public would like to know would be why Teoh, who was only a witness, had to be interviewed during unearthly hours.
The MACC, as an enforcement agency, is expected to shed some light into its operations as a law enforcement agency, its sensitivity to suspects tampering with evidence, and the element of surprise in raids and interviews.
Lacking in resources and manpower, the sentiment among the MACC is that it welcomes the Royal Commission.
Besides wanting to clear its name, the word is that the agency wants the public to know its frustrations too. The lack of financial allocations has long been a matter of concern.
It is incredulous that the MACC has no access to CCTV. It would have helped its case had Teoh been video-taped while he was being questioned.
The political dimension has also sharpened. The Pakatan Rakyat, which was reeling from differences among its partners, has now found a unifying factor – the death of Teoh Beng Hock.
Overnight, the public forgot and forgave their daily squabbles in the media with the attention being shifted to Teoh.
Even PKR MP Wee Choo Keong, who is said to be getting ready to reveal more wrongdoings in the Selangor state government, has not dared to proceed, obviously worried about the backlash.
PKR vice-president Azmin Ali, who had called for the sacking of some state exco members, has sealed his lips too.
The MACC has said it would continue with its investigations on some Pakatan state assemblymen on the abuse of development funds. But the fact is its attention would now be more on the inquest and the royal commission.
The MACC’s hands are not only full but are also tied. It is at its lowest ebb and it would now have to tread carefully.
But in cyberspace, the politics of Teoh has taken on a new form. A blog appeared on Thursday and was immediately a huge hit, becoming the front page of major newspapers and online news portals.
The blog has made allegations that allocations were siphoned off to non-existent organisations and individuals.
Documents purportedly showing questionable transactions have been posted online, and the third instalments were put up yesterday.
The blog has claimed that Teoh, to protect himself, made copies of all the false documents and dummy companies that were allegedly set up by the DAP. It claimed that Teoh left behind a hard disk containing all the information.
The psy-war has been fast and furious. State exco members Ronnie Liu and Ean Yong Hian Wah, who were named in the blog, called a press conference on Friday to rubbish the claims.
On the Net, the allegations were quickly dismissed as a hoax by Pakatan supporters while others pointed out the discrepancies in the issue.
The most named person in the documents was one Wong Chuan How, a second-term Sepang municipal councillor and businessman.
He has been entrusted with the job of looking after the Sungai Panjang seat, held by Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo, and the Sungai Pelek state seat.
At the same time, it has been revealed that there was a laceration on Teoh’s wrist, giving rise to speculation on whether it was self-inflicted, if he was coerced into cutting his wrist, or if the injury was sustained during the fall.
Answers, answers and answers – that’s what the people want; and they want convincing ones, too.