Monday, April 12, 2010

Hisham, Gani guarantee Pornthip’s safety here

The government will guarantee Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand’s safety should she continue to testify in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest, both the Home Minister and Attorney-General have said today.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein also urged the Thai pathologist to provide details to the relevant authorities regarding her allegation that she faced “political pressure” from Putrajaya not to continue with her testimony.

Dr Pornthip’s withdrawal from testifying in the Teoh inquest next week, reportedly due to political interference, has raised fears among the Teoh family and the DAP that the case was being tampered with at the highest level.

The Selangor government has confirmed the Thai pathologist is not returning when the inquest resumes on April 20 but they want the Coroner’s Court to agree to testimony via video-conferencing.

“We will guarantee the safety of everybody, not only Malaysians but also non-Malaysians and tourists. It is our duty to protect their security.

“If there is any suspicion on their part or worry about their security then they can come forward to the relevant agencies, especially the police. But you must come to us with details and facts,” Hishammuddin told reporters in Parliament today.

Echoing the minister’s remarks separately, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail invited the pathologist to attend the inquest and complete her testimony without fear for her personal well-being.

“As far as I am concerned, I stand on the ground that she is welcome to come and I want her to come, to give evidence in peace,” said the A-G.

He added that he would personally ensure that the Malaysian authorities protected her welfare for the duration of her stay.

“Professionally, I think if there is any cause to doubt her security or security at stake, I will make sure that the authorities will provide the security. No problems,” said Gani.

Hishammuddin aso said he was expecting reports on Dr Pornthip’s allegation from related agencies.

“The issue here concerns one or two agencies, the police, immigration and I have asked for a report. I will be in a better position to inform the public within a day or two.

“This is an allegation which needs to be investigated and it can only be answered by the agency in which the allegation has been directed to. I have asked the agencies to provide me with the answer,” he added.

Dr Pornthip, 54, the director-general of Thailand’s Central Institute of Forensic Science, had reportedly pulled out from the ongoing case, claiming she was forced to do so because of “political pressure” from Putrajaya that could affect her work in southern Thailand.

The flashy pathologist had testified during the inquest here that Teoh’s death was “80 per cent homicide”, contradicting Malaysian pathologists who say the political aide could have fallen to his death or suicide.

Her second testimony will be crucial to the inquest, and to prove allegations that there was foul play in death of the political aide.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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