KUALA LUMPUR: The panel looking into the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh will visit the abduction site for themselves, after the public inquiry this morning stalled when a police officer declined to produce a sketch of the location.
When asked for the sketch, Inspector Supari Muhammad said it was protected under Section 135 of the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
This earned him a reprimand from panel chair Mah Weng Kwai, who is a Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner.
Mah said the inquiry into Koh’s abduction was being held under the Human Rights Act 1999 and that its entire purpose was to find out what had happened to the pastor.
“It would be really useful and appreciated if witnesses give us information that is useful. The notice for this inquiry was given some time ago and subpoenas were issued all in public and national interests.”
He said he expected the police to have sought advice on the matter from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), and that asking for sketches of the location was normal procedure.
“How long do we have to wait to see the sketch plan?”
Following a 20-minute delay, Mah ordered that the panel and lawyers visit the site at SS4b/10 later today to see it for themselves.
The former Court of Appeal judge also asked the police observers if they had sought advice from the AGC before their witnesses came for the inquiry.
“Perhaps we should get them to come along (to the inquiry).
“You are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea,” he told Supari.
At this point, a police observer stood up and said they had not asked the AGC for advice, and that it was the panel’s duty to ask the AGC for information.
However, Mah disagreed, asking the police observers if they had read the terms of the inquiry.
“It is the duty of the police to assist, and it is their obligation to produce these items.
“You should be more aggressive in your help here, and you should have asked the AGC for advice and to advise your witnesses properly.”
To this, the police advisors said the whole scenario was a “miscommunication” within the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM).
“We only received the letter three days before the first day of the inquiry.
“We will visit the scene ourselves. It’s ridiculous but needs to be done.”
The public inquiry into Koh’s disappearance is chaired by Mah. The panel includes Suhakam commissioners Prof Dr Aishah Bidin and Dr Nik Salida.
The inquiry will consider, among other things, whether the cases of Koh, activist 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.
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 the Petaling Jaya police as the complainant said the missing persons lived in Kampung Tunku.