By Neville Spykerman MI
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — The family of Teoh Beng Hock wants his body to be exhumed so a second post-mortem can be carried out by renowned Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand.
Sources close to the family told The Malaysian Insider that an official announcement will be made by the family later today.
Lawyers representing them at the inquest into whether there was foul play involved in his death have been instructed to make an application to the coroner’s court to allow for the body to be exhumed.
Dr Pornthip, who testified at the inquest on Wednesday, caused a stir when she said there was a 80 per cent chance Teoh’s death was a homicide which is contrary to earlier findings by pathologists from local hospitals and the police who attributed the death to suicide.
She said Teoh’s injuries showed he could have been strangled and that he sustained anal penetration before he fell to his death on July 16.
Dr Pornthip (picture), who was hired by the Selangor state government, based her testimony on the earlier post-mortem report, pictures and other evidence.
Following Teoh’s death, his distraught Buddhist family was reluctant to subject his body to another post-mortem and wanted him to be buried as soon as possible. Their wishes were respected.
However, following her testimony the family, who has always disputed the findings that Teoh killed himself, now wants the second post-mortem to be carried out.
Teoh was hauled up for questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on July 15 to help investigations into claims of misuse of state allocations by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state lawmakers.
According to MACC, Teoh was only a witness in the case and had gone to the Selangor MACC headquarters on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam voluntarily.
The body of the former political secretary to DAP’s Ean Yong Hian Wah was found on a 5th-floor landing at the building the following afternoon.
But MACC maintains he was released from their custody earlier that morning.
Dr Pornthip said during the testimony that she would like an opportunity to carry out her own autopsy on Teoh but magistrate Azmil Muntapha Abas, who is acting as coroner in the inquest, indicated that it may be too late to do so at this stage.
Teoh’s family wants post-mortem by Thai expert
The family of deceased political aide Teoh Beng Hock today said they will apply for another post-mortem to be carried out by renowned Thai pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand.
Teoh’s sister Lee Lan told Malaysiakini that the family hopes that the post-mortem will “reveal the truth” behind her brother’s death.
She said the family has been mulling the possibility of a second post-mortem since the start of the inquest, and Pornthip’s revelation that there is a “80 percent” probability that Teoh’s death was homicide sealed their decision.
“They (the authorities) have undermined her (findings) on the grounds that she did not perform an autopsy,” she added.
Lee also explained that the family had initially rejected a second post-mortem soon after Teoh’s death because arrangements were already made for his funeral.
“We also did not check his injuries in detail during that time, so we never thought about doing further investigation,” she said.
“The second post-mortem issue cannot be allowed to drag too long. As Dr Pornthip said if the body is exhumed sooner, she will able to get more information,” she added.
In view of this, Lee said the family hopes that the coroner will make a prompt decision on their application for a fresh post-mortem.
Meanwhile, their lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said he will file the application to the coroner tomorrow.
On Oct 21, Pornthip told the Teoh inquest that the deceased could have been strangled before falling from the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam.
The flamboyant doctor noted that the marks on Teoh’s neck indicated the possibility of ‘manual strangulation’.
Furthermore, she pointed out that Teoh’s skull fracture was not typical of an injury from a fall.
In another startling revelation, Pornthip said the injury to the deceased’s anus could have been caused by penetration with an object before his fall.
In view of this, her conclusion is that there is an 80 percent probability that Teoh’s death was homicide and 20 percent chance of it being suicide.
Pornthip was testifying as an expert witness at the inquest which is being held to determine the cause of Teoh’s death.
She is the director and co-founder of the Thai Justice Ministry’s Central Institute of Forensic Science and is well-known for investigating complicated homicide cases.
Teoh, the 30-year-old political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, had been summoned to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam to be questioned over irregularities in the disbursement of state funds on July 15.
He was found dead the following day on the fifth floor service corridor of the building.
The inquest will continue on Nov 9.