The Rights of The Dead is one of the FreedomFilmFest 2012 documentaries that won the Justin Louis Award, and was also part of the Official Selection of the Best Southeast Asian Shorts at the ChopShots Documentary Film Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2012. Produced by Pusat KOMAS, Written and Directed by Tricia Yeoh.
A big thank you to Shan for suggesting that I put up my documentary on LoyarBurok.
The Rights of The Dead is my little contribution to the growing works of theatre and art on the tragic Teoh Beng Hock death that left so many of us in shock three-and-a-half years ago.
This short film encapsulates the numerous (and sometimes ridiculous) facts of the case and finally turns to the more human side of the story we seldom get to see.
Some special interviewees here include Edmund Bon (who doesn’t need an introduction here!), Malik Imtiaz (Selangor’s lawyer for the case) and Gobind Singh (TBH’s family lawyer).
I think Edmund’s words best reflect what I try to say in the documentary: that the various institutions’ lack of independence (MACC, Police, AG’s Chambers, forensic doctors) was the main cause of what eventually was considered a suicide in the eyes of the government. The Executive arm of government is heavily politicised, and influences the Judiciary and the Legislative arms.
Finally, I acknowledge that there have been hundreds of other death in custody cases before Teoh Beng Hock. His is just one of many, and by focusing on him I do not mean to disregard the rest like Kugan, Ahmad Sarbaini and so on.
I chose to put this documentary together because I was personally involved in the case. Beng Hock was my former colleague in the Selangor state government and I was the officer in charge of handling the case as it unfolded. It is my hope that the film will lead more people to find out about other death in custody cases, and how ultimately it is the system that has failed us.