April 8 — 10, 2011
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Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling,Basil Foo, Alvin Yap, Gho Chee Yuan
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Malaysian meteorological department
Seventy-three groups have called or theestablishment o a Royal Commission o Inquiry (RCI) toinvestigate the death o a Customs ocer in the custody o theMalaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).Te non-governmental organisations said there must be an“independent and thorough” probe into the ocer’s death,including MACC personnel involved and its power structure.Tey added that hal o the members should be nominatedby civil societies to ensure its credibility.Human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia coordinator ENalini spoke on ve demands on behal o the groups at a pressconerence on Tursday.Te NGOs include Amnesty International Malaysia, AllWomen’s Action Society, Malaysians or Beng Hock andSolidariti Anak Muda Malaysia.Besides the establishment o the RCI, they also want thepolice to buck up and conduct a proessional and independentprobe into the MACC to restore public condence.Te groups took the police to task or not investigating oracting on the 59 complaints lodged against MACC in the pastve years, resulting in the death o ormer political aide eohBeng Hock in 2009 and now Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed.Tey said MACC investigation director Datuk Mustaa Aliand other ocers involved should be suspended until the RCIcompleted its investigation to prevent cover-ups or intererence.Tey also urged the government to enact the Coroner’s Actand set up a coroner’s court to investigate all deaths in custody.he NGOs lastly reminded the government to set up thelong-delayed independent police complaints and misconductcommission to investigate abuse o power among enorcementbodies.Eric Paulsen, rom Lawyers or Liberty, said there have been147 deaths in custody since 2000, but nobody has been heldaccountable or the deaths.Selangor Customs assistant director Ahmad Sarbani, 56,was ound sprawled on the rst oor o the MACC building on Jalan Cochrane in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday morning.His death came in the midst o a RCI into the death o eoh, who was ound dead at Selangor MACC’s ormerheadquarters in Shah Alam in 2009.His death is being investigated openly or the second timeollowing dissatisaction with an open verdict by a coroner’sinquiry.
Civil societiescall for RCI
State condemns latest MACC death
Selangor has condemned the death o Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed at the Malaysian Anti-CorruptionCommission building on Jalan Cochrane in Kuala Lumpur.“Te state regrets that another MACC witness has diedunder suspicious circumstances,” said Menteri Besar an SriKhalid Ibrahim.he 56-year-old assistant director rom the SelangorCustoms Department, who was under investigation or graf,is believed to have allen rom the third oor o the building.Khalid said it was shocking that another tragedy couldhappen.“It looks like the MACC has not learnt anything rom[eoh Beng Hock’s] case and is still not responsible or thesaety o witnesses or those detained by them,” he said.Khalid also extended his condolences to the victim’samily.He said this illustrated to all Malaysians that withoutjustice or cases such as eoh’s, similar tragedies wouldcontinue to occur.“Te lack o serious action against those responsible oreoh’s death has led certain parties to think they are immunerom the law,” said Khalid.A Royal Commission o Inquiry (RCI) is being conductedinto the death o eoh, the ormer political secretary toexecutive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah.eoh was ound dead on July 16, 2009 on the fh ooro Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, where the Selangor MACCoce was then located.Khalid said the incident has strengthened the state’sresolve to protect its civil servants.Te legality o Selangor’s circular preventing its civilservants rom being questioned by the MACC afer ocehours and only while accompanied by a lawyer is being challenged in court.“We will appeal right to the Federal Court, the decision[o the High Court] to nulliy the circular,” he said.He said the instruction was appropriate in the wake o the two deaths.
Overwhelmedwith grie, the mother o AhmadSarbani Mohamed collapsed whileviewing his body on Tursday.Aishah Abdullah Rau, 75, was seenbeing carried out o the Ar-RahmanSurau in the Customs quarters inKelana Jaya.She had earlier been among lovedones and colleagues who had waitedsince 10.30am or his body to arrive.Over 200 mourners were seen wak-ing along with the hearse when it ar-rived rom Hospital Universiti Ke-bangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) at about5pm beore it was taken into the surau,where it was prepared or burialan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who ar-rived shortly afer, was seen expressing his condolences to amily members.“I am sad or the amily, we have tond the truth. It is a great tragedy, butwe must ensure there are investigationinto MACC’s methods o interroga-tion and conduct,” said the SelangorMenteri Besar.Ahmad Sarbani’s body was taken tothe Kota Damansara Muslim cemeterysoon afer.Meanwhile, there was widespreaddisbelie over suggestions that he hadcommitted suicide.“How could someone who is lovedby everyone, someone who is helpuland smiling, commit suicide?”asked Aznijar Ahmad.Te University Malaya aeronauti-cal engineering lecturer, who knew thedeceased when they stayed in Klang,said Ahmad Sarbani had been a reli-gious man.“Our amily is extremely sad. Hewas a surau committee member,” saidthe lecturer, whose wie is also a Cus-toms ocer.He said Ahmad Sarbani had alsobeen the treasurer or the surau com-mittee and had discharged his dutiesconscientiously.“Are they going to write thathe committed suicide?” said a uni-ormed customs oicer to his col-league.“We do not know what happened.We are sad and we are angry. Hisdeath should not have happened,”said another oicer, who did not wishto be identiied.Ahmad Sarbani was ound dead onWednesday and is believed to haveallen rom the third oor o the Ma-laysian Anti-Corruption Commission(MACC) headquarters on Jalan Coh-crane, Cheras.he Selangor Customs assistantdirector had been among 62 Customsocers reportedly picked up or al-leged graf. But the 56-year-old athero ve was released on bail on Monday.A relative who spoke to the presspointed out that Ahmad Sarbani’sdeath was now a matter o speculationin the media.“here are many reports, and allconict with each other. Are the re-ports veried? Is it true?” said the man,who reused to be identied.Others who knew the deceaseddescribed him as a person who hadalways been smiling and helpul.Among other VIPs who came tovisit the grieving amily were state ex-ecutive councillor Dr Halimah Ali andShah Alam Member o ParliamentKhalid Samad.Dr Halimah was seen hugging members o the amily and consoling them over their loss.Khalid Samad said nothing short o a Royal Commission o Inquiry (RCI)would suce to nd out the actualcircumstances behind the death.“Tis is a high-prole case, involv-ing millions o ringgit in graf, and thedeath o a senior civil servant needsnothing less than a RCI,” he said.Te MACC has suspended two o-cers or the purposes o investigationinto the death o Ahmad Sarbani onWednesday.According to a MACC statementissued rom its headquarters in Putra-jaya, the ocers were suspended be-cause they had breached regulationspertaining to witnesses and visitors toMACC oces.“wo ocers have been suspendedor the breach o regulations on wit-nesses or visitors to MACC premises,whereupon the ocers had ailed to bewith the witness or visitor during thewhole time that they were at theMACC oce,” the statement read.“Te internal investigations will beorwarded to the MACC ComplaintsCommittee, which is headed by ormerCourt o Appeals judge Datuk MohdNor Abdullah and has three othermembers,” it added.
Grief and disbelief
Friends and relatives carry 75-year-old Aishah Abdullah after she faintedupon seeing Ahmad Sarbani’s remains being taken to the surau at theKelana Jaya Customs quarters late yesterday afternoon.