KUALA LUMPUR: Former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar today either declined or was unable to answer certain questions regarding the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh when asked during a public inquiry about the case.
Khalid seemed unable to recall specific facts on most questions posed and passed the buck to Selangor CID chief SAC Fadzil Ahmat instead.
Each time one of the family lawyers asked pertinent questions to help build the facts surrounding the case, Khalid either said he did not remember or did not know the answers to the questions posed.
When asked to elaborate about the suspects arrested in connection with the case, Khalid refused to answer the question, saying, “I reserve my right not to answer questions pertaining to the suspects as the case is still ongoing. The suspect might be arrested in the future so I cannot say anything.”
When inquiry chair Mah Weng Kwai asked Khalid who would know the answers to these questions, Khalid said, “The Selangor CID chief who is also the head of the task force set up to look into the disappearance of Koh.”
Khalid was being questioned on day three of the public inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), into the disappearance of Koh and three others.
When asked about a shootout in Perlis in which evidence regarding the abduction of Koh was allegedly found in a suspect’s house, Khalid clarified that the items were found by members of the Bukit Aman Serious Crime Department.
He however refused to divulge further details about the suspects when asked about their race or if they were police informers.
When asked how many times he was properly briefed about the case, Khalid replied, “Two”.
“I was only briefed twice about the case by Fadzil. The first was a 10-minute briefing a few weeks after the incident occurred.
“The second briefing was 10-15 minutes long, also by Fadzil,” he said at the inquiry.
When asked if he knew that Koh was questioned by police before his abduction, Khalid said he could not give the answer to that question.
Koh was reportedly questioned nine times by members of the Special Branch.
“I was not aware or informed about this. PDRM is divided into 10 departments. Each department has its own director and they will give instructions for their own departments.”
When asked about the police’s cooperation with their Thai counterparts on the Perlis case, Khalid said, “We are working closely with our Thai counterparts. I do not want to give any other information on what was revealed to us as investigations are ongoing.”
When asked if he thought the modus operandi of Koh’s abduction was similar to that of special police operations, Khalid disagreed.
“I agree the abduction operation was systematic but chaotic and not a special op. You can see this in movies every day and later emulated. I do not think this is a special op.
“It may appear professional and efficient to the layman. I have seen a gang-related murder in the middle of a road in Setapak that was more efficient than this.
“If it was a police op, the fake number plates would have appeared on our records but in this case, it didn’t. A few people will also be wearing police insignia on their outfits. In this case, nobody was seen with it,” he said.
When asked to make comparisons between the disappearance of Koh and Amri Che Mat, Khalid refused to answer.
“I would not relate the two. I would not want to cloud my own mind. I do not want to speculate about things that did not happen (when asked for his opinion).
“You can’t put something that did not happen in my mind. Please ask the investigating officer.”
The inquiry will consider, among other things, whether the cases of Koh, Amri Che Mat, and Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, were cases of enforced or involuntary disappearance as defined under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The public inquiry is chaired by Mah Weng Kwai, a retired Court of Appeal judge, 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.
On March 3, it was reported that Khalid was looking at three theories related to the abduction of Koh — personal issues, links to extremists and kidnap-for-ransom.
On March 20, Khalid ticked-off reporters for speculating too much about the abduction as well as giving too much publicity to the case, although police had no new leads.
On June 25, Khalid was reported to have linked Koh’s abduction to a human trafficking group in southern Thailand, and that police were working with Thai police on the matter.
Social activist Amri, 44, who co-founded charity organisation Perlis Hope, has been missing since Nov 24 last year.
His wife, Norhayati Ariffin, said witnesses saw five vehicles blocking the path of Amri’s car before he was whisked 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. A police report was lodged in Klang but the case was referred to Petaling Jaya police as the complainant said the missing persons lived in Kampung Tunku.