Abide by RCI decision: lecturer

PUTRAJAYA, 27 Jun (Bernama) -- All parties must abide by the decision of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) as it is the best way to investigate controversial cases, said a law lecturer.

Datuk Assoc Prof Abd Halim Sidek of Universiti Teknologi Mara's Institute of Malay Thinking and Leadership said any dispute on the RCI's decision would be regarded as a affront to the commission and legal action may be taken against those who did so.

He said in the case of the RCI on the death of Teoh Beng Hock's death on July 16, 2009, the findings, which had been presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal on June 22, would be made public once a royal assent was given.

"His Majesty had yet to give his assent. But once the RCI report is made public, all parties must accept the decision," he told Bernama and RTM in an interview here today.

Teoh, 30, the political aide to state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16, 2009 on the 5th floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam after giving his statement at the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office on the 14th floor of the building.

The RCI sat through 60 days of proceedings that began on Feb 14 and ended on May 10, and called some 70 witnesses, including Teoh's employer, Ean Yong, and several MACC officials, who were not called during an earlier inquest at the Coroner's Court in Shah Alam.

Abd Halim said the RCI, which was set up under Section 2 of the Commission of Inquiry 1950 (Act 119) was different from inquest as members of the RCI were appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and have vast experience in specialised areas.

He said actually the RCI should only be set up to delve into pressing or controversial matters like landslides, climate change or on companies causing economic crash like in other countries.

"But in Malaysia, the RCI into Teoh's death was convened due to public outcry (after the coroner passed an open verdict)," he added.

On inquest, he said it differed from the RCI as the Attorney-General might called for another or more inquests if he was not happy with the decision made and the police could gather new evidence.

On the death of Selangor Customs assistant director Ahmad Sarbani Mohamad at the MACC office building in April, Abd Halim described it as a tragedy that occurred in suspicious circumstances and an inquest could be conducted to establish the cause of death.