By S Pathmawathy | Malaysiakini
“I was angry when I was questioned repeatedly by a Bar Council lawyer on my behaviour and actions,” Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer Arman Alies confessed today.
Testifying before the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the death of DAP political secretary Teoh Beng Hock, the assistant enforcement officer said he felt antagonised by Edmund Bon’s line of questioning yesterday.
Commissioner Dr Mohamed Hatta Shaharom, a forensics psychiatrist consultant, asked Arman whether he often feels angry.
Arman: I get angry when, during games, people try to hurt me. I get angry when I am disturbed for no reason.
Mohamed Hatta: Over the past two-and-a-half days, how many times have you felt angry?
Arman: When I was attacked on a personal note and when questions were asked repetitively.
The witness then pointed at Bon, saying he feels “anger” against the lawyer for his line of questioning yesterday on the investigative diaries.
Bon had pressed Arman not to hide anything from the panel when being questioned about his two investigation diaries.
The lawyer said there are discrepancies in the diaries as the entries vary.
Arman said he created the first diary several days after Teoh’s death, and the second one almost a year later.
Bon then went on to suggest that the discrepancies revealed “could be tantamount to tampering with official documents”.
Arman, the enforcement officer who took down Teoh’s testimony, said he had only filed his investigation notes on that interview about three days after it took place.
As the panel was wrapping the questioning of Arman today, Mohamed Hatta asked the latter to describe himself and his personality.
Arman: I don’t understand. I can’t describe what other people tell about me. I have never heeded when people talk about me.
Mohamed Hatta: How do your peers describe you, normally? Never heard people talking about you? Are you baik hati (kind hearted), busuk hati (spiteful) or iri hati (jealous)?
Arman: I can mingle with everyone. I never take notice of what people say.
Mohamed Hatta: In your 10 years (with MACC), you’ve interrogated or interviewed suspects or witnesses. What makes you angry?
Arman: I have no reason to be angry with them. If they don’t tell us something, we will look into documents or speak to other witnesses.
Mohamed Hatta: There must be some sort of mannerism (tingkah laku) that irks you, makes you kecil hati (slighted)?
Arman: Whether they tell us, or hide details, we will refer to other witnesses. So, no reason to get angry.
The commissioner also pointed out that Arman “grimaced and appeared irritated” during the proceedings but the investigator explained that he was merely “exhausted” as he had to work after the inquiry.
‘I only made additions to diaries’
When quizzed by MACC counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the investigation diaries, Arman denied that he tampered with the official records.
Muhammad Shafee had asked if he had removed any details that were in the first copy of the diary from the second copy.
Arman said that he “only made additions as well as explained in detail several specific situations involved” for his own keeping.
He was then asked why he had not typed out that “the witness (Teoh) looked stressed” in the second diary but had jotted this in the first.
“I didn’t have a copy of the first diary and the second one I typed out from memory. So the sentences are different,” replied Arman.
He said sentences and words that were included or missing from the second copy of the investigation diary were not done on purpose.
This prompted commissioner T Selventhiranathan to ask: “You don’t have a photographic memory, do you? This is because there are similarities in the sentences and words used in the first and second diaries, yet you say you don’t have a copy of the first?”
“Is your memory absolute?” asked another commissioner, Abdul Kadir Sulaiman.
However, Arman reiterated that he had created the second diary from memory and also referred to his daily log to double confirm the time and dates, hence the similarities.
Prior to Arman’s testimony this morning, the MACC had submitted copies of four files containing documents relating to Selangor government funds.
Teoh had been called in as a witness to explain disbursements by his employer, Seri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah.
Muhammad Shafee requested that original copies of the files be returned to the MACC at the end of the day as this is an investigation matter.
“Investigations on Ean Yong have been suspended at the moment as the nexus of the argument – Teoh – was missing but the probe has not ceased,” he told the commission.
Inquiry head Justice James Foong said the files will be returned on Monday, after lawyers study the document over the weekend.
Muhammad Shafee said he would ask for MACC to provide assistance in going through the files.
However, the lawyer’s application to have Arman’s laptop returned to him as soon as possible was rejected.
The panel yesterday ordered the confiscation of Arman’s laptop and mobile numbers used, including the phones, to check whether the laptop was affected by a virus, as he had claimed.
Muhammad Shafee’s said Arman “might require the equipment for his intelligence work”.
But Foong told him to “tell MACC to get him (Arman) a new laptop”.