Thursday, 5 July 2012

Updated : Cops probe Teoh Beng Hock play

Police are probing a theatre production titled ‘Beng Hock' - which chronicles the tragic death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock - scheduled to run this weekend.

Faisal Mustaffa, the producer of the play, said he received a call from the police on Tuesday requesting him to go to Jinjang police station for questioning.

NONEHe said it did not appear to be a formal investigation as his statement was not recorded in writing during his meeting with the police. He was asked for a synopsis of the play, among others.

Faisal, who runs Rumah Anak Teater (RAT), said he does not expect the authorities to put the brakes on the show.

"The production does not require a permit from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) because we are not charging for tickets.

"Also, we don't need a police permit as the play is taking place on private property," he said.

Faisal said the authorities, who are free to come watch for themselves, need not be alarmed about the play because it is not political in nature.

He said the play will highlight the mystery surrounding Teoh's death and create public awareness to ensure that such events never recur.

"But, I feel the police officers may have been pressured by certain parties who do not want the play to proceed," Faisal said.

Police chief unaware

The 45-minute theatre production will be held over three days starting July 6 at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC).

When contacted, Sentul district police chief Zakaria Pagan said he was not aware of any investigations on the play, which will be held within his district.

NONEMeanwhile, KLPAC Theatre manager Ian Chow said the police have also called him to ask a few questions, but stressed that such queries were purely "routine".

"We normally get some questions before each production from the authorities. The only difference in this case was they spoke to the producer in person," he said.

Teoh, who was Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah's aide, plunged to his death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Selangor headquarters in Shah Alam in July 2009.

He was being interrogated on corruption charges levelled against Ean Yong regarding the delivery of flags for Merdeka Day celebrations.

Three MACC officers were implicated by the Teoh Beng Hock royal commission of inquiry set up to investigate the death, but all three were cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the Attorney-General's Chambers.

However, MACC chief Abu Kassim Mohamed announced last month that the commission will take disciplinary action against the officers.

The trio are former Selangor MACC investigations unit head Hishamuddin Hashim, investigation officer Mohd Anuar Ismail and assistant superintendent Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus.

Nie Ching: Lay off the play 

In another development, Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, speaking at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, called on the police to lay off the Teoh Beng Hock theatre production.

As no money is charged for admission, and as the play is based on official reports, there is no need for the police to bother them, she said.

“I hope the police can focus on fighting crime and not try to stop the play, which is based on the RCI report,” she said, adding that the play’s producer had cooperated with the police on the matter.

NONEUnder Section 27a of the Police Act, said Nie Ching (right), no permit is needed to stage activities on private property, as the police are only allowed to “stop” activities they consider a threat.

“Otherwise we would need a police permit to have a press conference here as well,” she said.

According to her, producers have invited the police to watch a full-dress rehearsal of the play tonight before deciding if they will take any action.

She hopes the police will decide to let the play go on, as the production may have to be cancelled otherwise.

“If the production does not cooperate (when the police try to stop the activity), it would be considered an offence,” she said, adding that it may result in a fine or jail time.

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