Pastor Koh: After 50 days, family continues plea for answers

Susanna-Liew-Sow-Yoke_Raymond-Koh_6001PETALING JAYA: Yesterday marked 50 days since the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh, and an evening prayer service was held bringing together Christians and church leaders across all denominations.

About 600 people attended the service, where the missing pastor’s family continued their plea for answers as to the disappearance and the lack of information on the crime which took place on Feb 13 in Kelana Jaya, a major suburb in Petaling Jaya.

“My children and I need to know where he is, and if he is well. I want to know why he was snatched from us this way, and who is behind this.

“After 50 days of silence, does anyone question why I am crying for answers? For justice?” Raymond’s wife Susanna Liew said.

She thanked all those who had supported her, saying she was comforted by all that is good in the country.

“In all this despair, I am comforted by the support shown to me by so many Malaysians from all races and religions.

“I find strength in this beautiful nation of ours and in the power that comes from our diversity.”

The pastor’s three children Jonathan, Esther and Elizabeth also participated in the service, with his daughters delivering a moving rendition of a poem “Where is Raymond Koh?” in English and Malay. The poem was written by a close friend of the family.

Raymond Koh, 62, was abducted by a group of masked men less than 100 metres from the Police Housing Complex in SS4, Kelana Jaya, on the morning of Feb 13. Video footage has since emerged showing what looks like a well-executed plan involving seven vehicles and at least 12 individuals.

One of the abductors had also driven off with Koh’s silver Honda Accord bearing the licence plate ST 5515 D, in the operation which was executed in less than minute.

Police set up a special task force to investigate the abduction and had reportedly claimed to be hindered by media coverage in carrying out their investigation.

To date, Raymond remains missing and the identities of his abductors and their accomplices remain a mystery.

The evening service in solidarity with Raymond’s family was jointly organised by the Sungai Way-Subang Methodist Church (SSMC) and the Evangelical Free Church of Malaysia (EFCM), and held at the SSCM building in Kampung Sungai Ara in Petaling Jaya.

SSMC’s pastor Ng Swee Ming, who hosted and led the service, explained the reasons why this service was organised.

“Since Raymond was abducted, there has been a spontaneous outpouring of concern, sadness and fear across the nation, whether in the press, in social media or in the streets at numerous candlelight vigils.

“After 50 days, we are still in the dark about what happened to him. This service is meant to bring much needed comfort to and support for Raymond’s family, his friends, his colleagues and also many Christians who are perplexed, even genuinely fearful because of what happened and what it means to the continued freedom of religion in this nation,” Ng said.

The head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, Archbishop Julian Leow, called for churches to unite in support of the missing pastor and his family.

“In coming together to pray as one, we are following a crucial teaching of Jesus, which is that we are all brothers and sisters, bound together by bonds of faith and love. This bond extends to our missing brother Raymond especially.”

This was reiterated by the Rev Ng Moon Hing, Archbishop of South East Asia for the Anglican Church, saying that “the churches in Malaysia are very concerned about our abducted brother Raymond Koh, and many of our flock need comfort and assurance from church leadership.”

The head of the Methodist Church of Malaysia, Bishop Ong Hwai Teik, urged for all to not give in to despair, despite the circumstances.

“We must never take ourselves to a place beyond hope; because even in the worst of outcomes, our faith teaches us that God does not abandon us. And no matter what, we will not abandon Raymond,” Ong said.

The service concluded with all in attendance delivering a rousing rendition of Sejahtera Malaysia, a popular Malaysian patriotic song.