KUALA LUMPUR: The investigating officer (IO) in the Pastor Raymond Koh abduction case today agreed that 70%-80% of his line of questioning was about the alleged Christianisation of Muslims.
ASP Supari Muhammad said the rest of his questions were on the activities and financial records of the missing pastor.
He was responding to questions by Koh’s family lawyer, Steven Thiru.
“I would say that was the focus, but I also questioned her (Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew) on his debts, bank accounts, his activities, the Jais (Selangor Islamic Religious Department) investigations and the information spread by Jais about his activities.
“I did narrow the investigation down to Christianisation,” he said on the seventh day of the public inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) into Koh’s disappearance.
Supari also said the faulty street cameras at the site of the abduction had affected the progress of his investigations.
When asked if he understood that Liew’s anger stemmed from the understanding that the police were investigating the victim and not the abduction, he replied: “Yes, it’s understandable”.
Thiru then brought up the many accounts of Liew’s dissatisfaction and anger towards the police for not being regularly updated about the case despite trying to seek information.
However, Supari said he didn’t feel it was fair for her to be angry with him as he was only doing his job.
Thiru then asked Supari if he agreed that the family should have been informed by police about developments in the northern part of the country instead of learning about it through the press.
“They could ask us for developments. We didn’t think it was necessary to tell the family as it was already reported by the press.
“I didn’t know the updates about the developments in the north until former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar held a press conference about it. I knew about it only after he announced it.”
The inquiry earlier heard that a shootout had taken place in Perlis and that evidence regarding Koh’s abduction was allegedly found in a suspect’s house. Khalid said the items were found by members of the Bukit Aman Serious Crime Department.
He also said police were working closely with their Thai counterparts on the Perlis case and could not reveal details as it could affect investigations.
Thiru said the family had asked for a meeting with the police but did not get it.
“There was no official meeting. We just spoke on the phone and exchanged WhatsApp messages on the new developments,” Supari said.
Thiru then asked Supari if he agreed that police had failed to keep the family informed on the case.
“I don’t agree,” Supari said.
“They should have come to me before going to the press to complain about it.”
Supari was then asked if he agreed that the family felt not enough was being done to find the victim.
“I don’t agree,” he said.
The public inquiry is chaired by Suhakam commissioner and former Court of Appeal judge Mah Weng Kwai, and 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 wife Ruth, were cases of enforced or involuntary disappearance, as defined under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Koh, 62, was abducted from his car by a group of more than 10 men in a convoy of vehicles on Feb 13.
CCTV footage showed at least three black SUVs were involved in the abduction. Many speculated that his abduction might have been connected to his alleged attempts to spread Christianity, although his family has dismissed such claims.
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.