Teoh Beng Hock's family may file a motion in the coroner's court to have minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz cited for contempt after he called a Thai pathologist a “liar”.
Lawyer for Teoh's family and DAP parliamentarian for Segambut Lim Lip Eng told journalists in the Parliament lobby today that this may be done when the inquest into Teoh's death resumes on April 20.
Nazri, the minister in the Prime Minister's Department, had branded Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand a liar after she claimed to have come under 'political pressure' from Malaysia to end her involvement in the inquest.
"Does Nazri have any evidence to back up his claim? If not, doesn't the statement amount to contempt of court?" Lip Eng asked.
The MP has filed a notice under Standing Orders 18(2) to debate Pornthip's allegations in the Dewan Rakyat, as a matter of public interest.
“The people deserve to know if there is any truth in (her) allegations. Why was she stopped from entering Kelantan earlier this year? What kind of threat would the country be exposed to if we allow her to come? Is she a terrorist or a foreign spy?" he asked.
Another of Teoh's lawyer and Puchong MP said Nazri should clarify why he had called Pornthip as a liar.
"I challenge him to come forward if he has evidence that she had lied in her testimony during the inquest," he said, demanding that Nazri backs his claims with facts in court.
“If Nazri cannot prove his allegation, then we will take the matter forward. (One way) is to cite Nazri for contempt of court. We will decide on this course of action by April 20."
Gobind urged the attorney-general (AG) to intervene as his office is a party to the inquest.
"When a professional from another country claims that she is being harassed by the government, it is important for the AG to step in," he added.
He stressed that Nazri's statement is unfair as he has jumped to conclusions before the investigation has been concluded.
"If Nazri does not have evidence to back his claims, he owes Pornthip an apology," he added.
No let up from Nazri
Veteran DAP leader and Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang concurred with Gobind, saying that Nazri should retract his remark and issue a public apology to the pathologist.
Kit Siang called on the cabinet to convene an emergency meeting, to send the message that Pornthip should be allowed to testify without pressure, as well as to ensure her safety and well being while she is in the country.
"How can Nazri know what she said is completely baseless? Is Nazri privy to all happenings in the government that he can respond to Pornthip's statement without calling for an investigation?”
Kit Siang blasted the government's bias in denying all her claims without calling for a thorough investigation.
Nazri kept up his tirade against Pornthip today, asking who has stopped her from entering Malaysia.
"Tell me who is it? Is it Datuk Seri Nazri or somebody else? We want to know because (if) we do not know the truth, then how can we help her? Anybody can say that they have been forced but we would like to know who has been forcing her,” he said, explaining this is why he had called her a liar.
He further claimed that the inquest had been postponed for her convenience. Hence, it is not possible that the Malaysian government is harassing her.
"If she was allowed to enter (the country) the first time, then why is there a need to stop her from entering a second time? It is certain that we will be criticised by the international community if we stop her ....”
“I feel that she is scared, that her testimony in the inquest is false and she cannot defend it now. Therefore she is trying to find excuses for not to attend the coming inquest.”
During the inquest last October, Pornthip had made startling comments on the possible cause of Teoh's death, suggesting that he could have been strangled.
His body was found on July 16 at the fifth floor verandah of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, Selangor, after he had been questioned overnight by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as a witness in a graft complaint.
Teoh was the political aide to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, who is being investigated in relation to alleged irregularities in the disbursement of state funds.
courtesy of Malaysiakini