Churches want answers to Teoh’s death


In recent days the Christian community in Malaysia has been truly appalled and saddened by the sudden death of Mr. Teoh Beng Hock in strange and unclear circumstances on the morning of 16 July.

The Prime Minister himself has personally promised Mr. Teoh’s parents that every effort would be made to find out the cause of the political aide’s death (NST, 29 July 2009). To this end the Government of Malaysia has convened an inquest to look into the circumstances of Mr. Teoh’s death and to inquire if anyone was criminally liable. At the same time, a Royal Commission of Inquiry will be set up to inquire into the investigatory procedures of the MACC.

Collectively as a community we want to express our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family of the late Mr. Teoh and our prayers go out to them for God’s grace and comfort to face this difficult period. We encourage church leaders to express their prayers and condolences to the family.

As Christian citizens of Malaysia we pray that Almighty God will guide the inquest and the Royal Commission of Inquiry to unearth the truth, to uphold justice and to bring closure to the very unfortunate death of a young man with a bright future ahead of him.

We also pray that the Lord God will help us to seek an end to the many deaths in custody that occur all too frequently in our prisons, detention centres and lock-ups. [According to SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA’s 2008 Human Rights Report, citing government statistics, in 2008 itself there were 13 cases of deaths in police custody while 255 deaths were recorded in prisons.]

The very least that must be demanded of the relevant authorities and which they in any event should at least do is to thoroughly investigate every loss of life in ambiguous circumstances while in the custody of our law enforcement agencies so that any element of foul play may be ruled out.

We call upon our fellow Christians in government and in the political parties to also seek to leave no stone unturned in seeking the truth of the death not only of Mr. Teoh but the many others who have died whilst in the custody of our law enforcement agencies. Every human life is precious in the sight of Almighty God. Every family of each deceased person has the right to know the truth behind the death of their loved one.

May we together in love and patience grapple with the issues of the day in seeking to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly before God (Micah 6 : 8). This is the very least that God demands of us.

Bishop Ng Moon Hing
Chairman and the Executive Committee,
Christian Federation of Malaysia