Ramkarpal Singh has denied Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's claim that he had made a "careless and false" remarks in relation to the status of investigations into the death of Teoh Beng Hock.
The Bukit Gelugor MP, who welcomed Muhyiddin's reported clarifications on the matter, said he issued his own statement was issued as there had been no response to repeated queries since October, both in Parliament and through the media.
"I am glad that home minister has clarified his position that further investigations into the death of Teoh have commenced with the setting up of a special taskforce, which submitted its investigation papers to the Attorney-General’s Chambers on Oct 18 last year," he said in a statement yesterday.
"Muhyiddin went on to state that the AG has given certain instructions to the special taskforce on Dec 17 last year and as such, the investigations are still ongoing.
"I, however, vehemently deny Muhyddin’s claim that I had made 'careless and false' remarks in relation to the status of the investigations."
Muhyiddin – in response to Ramkarpal's earlier allegation that he failed to instruct the police to reopen investigations into Teoh's death – said yesterday that the cabinet decided to reopen the case in June.
He added that police had been instructed to take immediate action.
Following his instructions and the AGC letter, Muhyiddin also said the police had set up a special taskforce led by the Bukit Aman CID secretariat principal assistant director K Manoharan to re-investigate the case.
The taskforce, he added, submitted its investigation papers to the AGC for further action on Oct 18, last year.
Ramkarpal noted that it this was the first time Muhyiddin had responded to queries he made on behalf of Teoh's family.
"Muhyiddin's silence in the past until only today (Jan 11) in respect of the claim that he had yet to instruct the IGP to recommence investigations into Teoh’s death surely amounts to an acceptance of such claim," he said.
"There can be no doubt that his silence on the matter was taken by many to mean that indeed, he had yet to direct the IGP on the matter.
"I was not the only one who formed such an impression as a result of Muhyddin’s silence. Others did too."
Among others, Ramkarpal cited Muhyiddin's silence to questions raised based on the Pagoh MP's statement in Parliament last Oct 22 that police are still awaiting their orders from the AGC, and that they are ready to form a special taskforce to handle the case.
Ramkarpal pointed out that Muhyiddin had also failed to respond to similar concerns recently made by the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy chairperson Ng Geok Chee on whether he was against reopening the case.
"In the circumstances, I must reiterate that I did not, at any time, make any false or careless remarks in relation to the status of Teoh’s death," he said.
"Moving forward, as I had said earlier, I am glad that Muhyiddin has confirmed that further investigations into Teoh’s death have begun and are ongoing.
"This is certainly a step in the right direction and shows that the Pakatan Harapan government is committed to getting to the bottom of this unfortunate tragedy," he said, adding that regular public updates should be made to avoid future misunderstandings.
Teoh, the political aide to Seri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead in 2009 after falling nine floors from the former Selangor MACC headquarters in Shah Alam where he had been held overnight for questioning.
A Royal Commission of Inquiry had found in 2011 that Teoh had committed suicide due to aggressive interrogation tactic by three MACC officers.