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the royal commission of inquiry (RCI), however, found that the MACC Selangor Deputy Director had played an instrumental role in the tragedy.

July 23, 2011
The ‘arrogant leader’ in Teoh’s interrogation
Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
Jul 22, 11

Although the then Selangor MACC deputy director Hishamuddin Hashim had disclaimed active involvement in the graft busting operation which led to the death of Teoh Beng Hock, the royal commission of inquiry (RCI), however, found that he had played an instrumental role in the tragedy.

NONEAccording to the report, contrary to his testimony, Hishamuddin (left) was found to have been in full control and actively involved in the entire operation from the very start.

The commission discovered that during the period of the operation, the officers involved would keep him updated twice in a day when he would give them specific directions.

“Even when the officers were on the ground, they would call him on their mobile phones for directions should they encounter any problem in the operation, or he would call them to give directions,” the report said.

“He not only was involved but he also unleashed his officers to do his bidding in order to get results within that night (of July 15) and morning (of July 16) come hell or high water.

“He was clearly accountable for what transpired at the Selangor MACC during the period in question, and the submission of counsel for the MACC falls flat in the face of these facts,” read the RCI report.

It pointed out that Teoh was driven to commit suicide by the “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogations” by MACC officers acting on Hishamuddin’s orders.

The commission named Hishamuddin, together with two of his officers – Mohd Anuar Ismail and Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus, as the trio who questioned Teoh in the postulated fourth interrogation that was described as the “final straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Deadly obsession with achieving aim

Therefore, the RCI report stressed that although there was no direct evidence to prove that Hishamuddin had a hand in the death of Teoh, he should be held responsible for the actions taken by him and his officers, which propelled Teoh to take his own life.

NONEThe senior officer, who has been with the MACC for 21 years, was described by the report as an “arrogant leader who would have no qualms in lying as long as his ends were achieved, regardless of the means employed”.

“We found him to be arrogant, given to falsehoods, untruthful and uncompromising in his stand.”

However, he had been promoted after the incident and currently holds the senior position as Negeri Sembilan MACC director.

The commission said Hishamuddin had launched a full-scale operation, mobilising the whole Selangor MACC while seeking manpower support from other MACC offices on the mere belief in the informant and without supporting facts.

“…Hishamuddin should have exercised every caution as the complaint was serious in nature and involved the state government of Selangor…,” read the report.

The commission said Hishamuddin was simply too stubborn to retreat from his mistake in mounting such a massive operation against Selangor elected representatives, particularly when it had received wide and extensive press coverage.

Disappointed at the negative result obtained from witnesses, the commission believed that Hishamuddin must have resorted to a personal and more aggressive interrogation of Teoh since the latter held the vital link between Ean Yong and the suppliers or contractors.

“And if anything were to be made to ‘stick’ on Ean Yong, it would have to be through Teoh,” the report added.

‘Iron grip a major hindrance’

Hishamudin’s tight grip on his officers also hindered the RCI from unearthing the truth from other MACC officers.

“Hishamuddin was described by MACC officer Azian as a workaholic. As a boss, he also instilled fear in his officers. Opportunities for promotion rested mainly in his hands.

“The whole range of interview-interrogation techniques would have been employed by his officers and himself to satisfy his desire to obtain results in the shortest possible time.

“Thus, it was not at all surprising that most of his officers, save two strong souls (Azeen and Azian) who pointed out the truth, had the inevitable habit of lying,” read the RCI report.

teoh beng hock rci witness 57 270411 azeen hafees jamaluddinAzeen Hafees Jamaluddin (left) and Azian Umar were the two MACC officers who exposed Hishamuddin’s falsehoods during the inquiry.

They revealed that Hishamuddin had called all the Selangor MACC officers involved in the case for a meeting on July 16 evening, to exclude himself from the responsibility and shift it all to Anuar.

The commission noted that Hishammudin appeared to have absolute authority to probe anyone whom he suspected to be involved in any corrupt practice in the state without even informing or obtaining the consent of his superiors at the Putrajaya headquarters of the MACC headquarters.

But the commission was later told by the current MACC deputy chief commissioner that this shortcoming had been rectified and that certain cases in any state now require approval and consent from HQ before investigations can commence.

The report also touched on the anonymous letter dated Aug 5, 2009 purportedly written by MACC officers which alleged the corrupt practices, misconduct and abuse of power committed by Hishamuddin in connection with the cases involving Teoh and former Selangor menteri besar Mohamad Khir Toyo.

It pointed out that although the letter had received the attention of the then-MACC chief commissioner, the anti-graft body did not carry out a formal investigation on the matter, given that the anti-graft body has very wide powers to set its investigative machinery in motion.

“According to section 29 of the MACC Act, a report may be made orally or in writing, and in the present matter before this RCI, the information that set the investigation machinery of the MACC in motion had purportedly been conveyed to Hishamuddin merely over the telephone,” the report added.

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