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Love for country stopped Pastor Koh from migrating, says wife

 | October 20, 2017

Susanna Liew says she was extremely worried after receiving two bullets in the mail and a death threat, and urged her husband to migrate.

Susanna-Liew-pastor-kohKUALA LUMPUR: Susanna Liew Sow Yoke, the wife of missing Pastor Raymond Koh, said her husband’s love for the country was the reason they did not migrate despite receiving death threats.

Liew, who spoke on the second day of the public inquiry into the disappearance of Koh held by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), said she had urged him to emigrate after they were harassed for their charitable work.

She said she was extremely worried after receiving two bullets in the mail that included a death threat and asked her husband to go to Australia.

“The next morning I cried while on the phone with my friend because things were getting too dangerous.

“I thought of migrating to Australia but my husband loved this country and wanted to stay. We moved to a friend’s house for two months instead,” she said.

Pastor Koh and Harapan Komuniti, a welfare centre he set up, came to the aid of many underprivileged people regardless of their race and religion.

Pastor Koh and Harapan Komuniti, a welfare centre he set up, came to the aid of many underprivileged people regardless of their race and religion.

She explained that in 2011 her family was harassed for their involvement with Harapan Komuniti, which was doing charitable work with marginalised groups, single mothers, drug addicts, sex workers and people suffering from HIV/Aids.

“The bullets in the mail came after the raid by the Selangor Religious Islamic Department at a dinner held at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church in August 2011.”

She added that she and Koh were frequently stopped at the immigration checkpoint when they headed to Singapore and other countries.

“Raymond was stopped nine times and I seven times from October 2011 to October 2012 at the Johor Bahru immigration checkpoint.

“On Dec 26, 2011, when I was coming back from Singapore at the JB checkpoint, they took away my passport and asked me to follow them to meet a Special Branch officer. I was scared and worried.

“The officer asked me why I went to Singapore many times and about a kindergarten I had sold five years prior to that. He asked me what activities I conducted and what I taught there.”

She said there was also one incident when she and her family returned from New Zealand in September 2011 and noticed a group of well-built men following them, one of whom was taking pictures of them.

When asked if Harapan Komuniti had any intention to spread or preach Christianity, Liew said it was against the guidelines of the non-profit organisation.

“We warned all the staff and volunteers through our internship programme that there cannot be any preaching of any religion while they carried out their work and activities.

“This warning was given verbally. All activities there were inclusive and included all races and there was no intention to preach any religion.”

The public inquiry into Koh’s disappearance is chaired by Mah Weng Kwai and includes a panel consisting of Suhakam commissioners Prof Dr Aishah Bidin from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Salleh from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

Koh, 62, was abducted from his car by a group of more than 10 men in a convoy of vehicles at Jalan Persiaran Tropicana in Petaling Jaya on Feb 13.

CCTV footage showed at least three black SUVs were involved in the abduction.

There was speculation the abduction might have been connected to his alleged attempts to proselytise Christianity, but this claim was dismissed by his family.

The Suhakam inquiry will also consider whether Koh’s disappearance and three other missing persons — Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth — were cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances as defined under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Social activist Amri, 44, who co-founded charity organisation Perlis Hope, has been missing since Nov 24 last year.

His wife, Norhayati Ariffin, had said witnesses saw five vehicles blocking the path of Amri’s car before he was taken away just 550 metres from their home in Bukit Chabang, Perlis.

Joshua and his wife Ruth, meanwhile, were last seen on Nov 30 last year.


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