The ghost of Beng Hock future

By Helen Ang

If Teoh Beng Hock was indeed alive when he was plunged from the 14th floor window, I shudder to imagine the terror that anyone made of flesh and bone should experience those few seconds while floating in midair. Knowing that in an instant, you’re going to hit the ground, and die.

On the night of Beng Hock’s death and the candlelight vigil at Plaza Masalam, we saw DAP Adun Hannah Yeoh. My friend noticed she was crying.

At an NGO press conference later calling for the royal commission of inquiry to include an investigation into Beng Hock’s death, Yock Lin the Awam co-ordinator cried as she was making a statement on behalf of her organization. I could hear Chow Ying, the KLSCH civil rights committee vice-chairman, sniffling as well and her voice cracking when she spoke to reporters.

So many people around the country feel deeply for Beng Hock, for his fiancé who became a widow before a bride, and for their unborn child whom some quarters want to deny it a father’s surname.

Yet Muhyiddin Yassin in his immediate reaction to the tragedy did not hint at even an iota of sympathy. No condolences extended either.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

There was this Makcik whose home I used to visit and occasionally sleepover at because her daughter was my close friend when we were both same-batch rookies in the papers.

The elderly lady has since passed on but I’m sure she too would shed tears if she heard about Beng Hock, as she did for the unfortunate Palestinian youths.

However, the Malay mainstream media have distorted the Beng Hock story so that ordinary Malays might not see him as a tragic innocent. Instead, they fill their reports with unsubstantiated murky and sordid elements.

I do not have to spell out the extent of Umno greed and corruption, and all the damaging politicking that it carrying out now. Nonetheless, I must underscore how Umno is using all the propaganda tools at its disposal to sully the memory of a departed young man and blunt the goodwill of multi-ethnic Malaysians.

The op-ed articles by Zainul Arifin in Berita Harian, Azmi Anshar in NST, Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah in Utusan and others have been nothing short of kurang beradab.

We know well that the top echelons in Umno cannot cede power at any cost. They have too much at stake and everything to lose. And Beng Hock’s death is already having political reverberations they can ill afford. (Remember how Benigno Aquino’s death swept President Marcos out of office?)

Umno doing untold harm to Malay psyche

If we accept the notion of adat Melayu yang halus — which is replete with budi bahasa — as the moral underpinning of Malaysia, then what can we make of the ugliness coating our landscape now?

To do their damage control for Umno, the spindoctors need to brainwash the Malay audience so that common human decency on the fate of Teoh Beng Hock does not prevail. Their language is uncharitable, their rationale callous. They are hell-bent on racializing the unfortunate death of a Malaysian.

To keep its hold on the Malay mind and Malay vote, Umno is unrepentant about injecting poison into the bloodstream. Their propaganda practitioners are the ones holding the syringes.

No amount of samak will wash those hands clean of their dosa, which is to coarsen the soul of a gentle and generous people in their keeping … all in the unholy bid to retain power.

[The views expressed above are the writer’s own.]


* It was Teoh Beng Hock that jumpstarted this Hartal MSM team blog.

Malaysian Heart had dissected NST editor Azmi Anshar’s series of articles on the Teoh case in MH’s own blog. I thought MH wrote a pertinent rebuttal that ought to be the flag-off piece for our mediawatch effort, and set the tone of Hartal postings to come. More readers’ comments here.

7 Responses to “The ghost of Beng Hock future”
  1. Abil says:

    There is a dearth of molarity among our so called leaders. They are there not to guide us to a better Malaysia, but rip the fabric that has united us as 1 Malaysia. It is UMNO and its racial polarisation and their greed to power that drives them to immoral activities in politics. power corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We hope that all Malaysians will be guided by our Rukun Negara and the religious teachings, and turn to good human beign and ultimately a man.

  2. ctw says:

    Beng Hock’s death is a mirror that the perpetrators of crime strive to smear, if not smash, till it is cloudy. The convenient way is to blame the victim.

    His death brings to light the endemic scale of torture pracitced nationwide and throughout the decades. I hope the public discussion and scrutiny would lead to an absolute ban of torture, inadmissibility of evidence gathered from torture in any judicial proceedings and criminalisation of complicity in torture.

    Beng Hock’s death has broken the myth that torture works.

  3. abdul rahman mohd.sharif says:

    Let the court decide in the inquest 1st. before deciding what should be said. On the contrary I heard and saw in the national TV condolences from PM and his UMNOs geng. If the court rules that it is murder or culpuble homicide not amounting to murder, then somebody got to be responsible. If Teoh committed suicide then he should be chastised and sent to Hell.
    My condolences to Teohs family.

    • Helen Ang says:

      Dear Abdul Rahman,

      1. You wrote: “On the contrary I heard and saw in the national TV condolences from PM and his UMNOs geng.”

      (a) I had pointed out: “Yet Muhyiddin Yassin in his immediate reaction to the tragedy did not hint at even an iota of sympathy. No condolences extended either.” Muhyiddin is DPM, not PM.

      (b) Muhyiddin responded first, Najib only later.

      2. You wrote: “If Teoh committed suicide …”

      What persuades you to incline more to this theory?


  4. Antares says:

    There are only two ways that a robust, wholesome-looking 30-year-old expectant father and groom-to-be could be driven to suicide. One is: if he was tortured to breaking point and forced to sign a false declaration that he feared would endanger all his comrades and turn his own beliefs to dust; and, two: if he was sedated, sexually abused, videotaped and threatened with blackmail unless he became a turncoat. In effect,Teoh could have been thrown into such total confusion, terror and desperation that he could be declared temporarily insane.

    MACC are fully culpable and legally answerable for causing his death – even if Teoh wasn’t pushed out the window but jumped.

  5. ctw says:

    When we express condolences, there must be some sincerity in it. That of Abdul Rahman’s seems me most inauthentic, if not hypocritical.

    How could a normal human being express a condolence and yet at the same time thinking that he should be chastised and sent to hell?

    Anyway, Beng Hock was already in hell before he died. He must have suffer extreme mental and physical pain during the dying moments. It makes me wonder what type of a person it is who harbours such cruel thoughts of sending people or the spirit of the deceased to hell. Does it not sound murderous?

    MACC has become a symbol of death trap. Whatever the court decide, it can’t erase this image from the consciousness of most of the people for a long time to come. The lack of empathy from top UMNO leaders like Muhyddin Yassin tells us that we are in the midst of a deep spiritual and moral crisis, and not merely a political one.

  6. ling ling says:

    Those MACC officials who caused the death of Teoh should be sentenced to death. They are worse than animals with their cruel tactics of interrogation. Our MACC is a name that brings shame to the honest and good Malaysians.I am sure the whole world is cursing the MACC. A bunch of liars . Shame on them.

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