By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — The exhumation of Teoh Beng Hock’s body for a second autopsy, ordered by the inquest into his recent death, has been completed. The exhumation comes following the testimony of Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand that the death of the political aide was very likely a homicide.
A team of over ten police forensic experts had earlier cordoned off the grave area with the aid of several cemetery workers, who are helping with the exhumation.
Teoh’s family members arrived earlier, and began offering rites to the departed’s spirit. A feng shui master explained that the time of the exhumation had been chosen specifically to coincide with swallows beginning the day, for good luck.
Dr Pornthip is also on the scene to observe the exhumation process.
Also present were two other forensic experts — Dr Shahidan Md Noor, who is chief pathologist at the Sungai Buloh Hospital, and UK pathologist hired by the MACC, Dr Peter Venezis.
Following the prayer rituals, the casket was successfully disinterred and displayed to the media present, before being covered in plastic sheets.
The family’s lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo, said that all parties involved were satisfied with the way the exhumation was performed and added that Teoh’s body was still in good condition for the second autopsy.
Dr Shahidan along with Dr Pornthip are expected to carry out an X-ray examination on the body later.
Gobind said lawyers representing Teoh’s family will also be there to hold a watching brief.
“This is to ensure that no complications will come in the future, so it’s better to make sure everything is alright now,” explained Gobind, who is also Puchong MP.
Teoh’s former employer, Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, said at the cemetery: “I hope the second autopsy will reveal the truth.”
Yong also stated his desire to know how much the government spent hiring the UK pathologist, Dr Venezis — one of two foreign pathologists, along with Dr Pornthip, who will be observing the second autopsy.
He said it was of public interest that the amount paid to hire the foreign expert be disclosed, as public funds were used to procure his services.
Dr Venezis, who serves as a director at the Cameron Centre for Forensic Medical Sciences in London, has handled over 2,000 autopsy cases involving sudden death, of which 1,500 were found to be homicides.
“The fact that they hired a foreign expert shows they have no confidence in the local pathologists,” Yong added.
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and Ronnie Lie were also in attendance. Both expressed hope that a fresh autopsy will reveal who or what “killed” Teoh.
Lim also added that Teoh’s death may have been a contributing factor towards Malaysia’s worst ever placing in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.