Jais officer: Cops quizzed us after pastor’s abduction

pastor-koh-abduction-jais-1KUALA LUMPUR: The public inquiry into missing pastor Raymond Koh and three others was told the investigating officer for Koh’s case had gone to the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) to check if the department had any links to the pastor’s disappearance.

Jais’ enforcement officer Zaaba Zakaria told the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) inquiry today investigating officer ASP Supari Mohammad had gone to his office about three weeks after Koh was abducted on Feb 13.

“Most of the questions he (Supari) asked for 40 minutes were on whether there were any links between us and Raymond’s abduction,” he said.

Zaaba, however, could not recall what other questions Supari had asked.

Lawyer Steven Thiru, representing Koh’s family, quizzed the witness after Zaaba responded he could not remember if Supari asked him about the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) raid on Aug 3, 2011.

“The police interview happened about eight months ago and this is an important question.

“DUMC is not a one-off incident,” he said.

Steven then proceeded to ask Zaaba on the complaint Jais received that led it to storm the church.

Steven: You said the complaint is a confidential document and it cannot be disclosed to police and even the (Suhakam) panel?

Zaaba: Yes.

Steven also asked under which law Jais could not disclose the complainant’s details. Zaaba said he was unsure.

“I have to consult my director or head of enforcement department if I can reveal the details,” Zaaba said.

Steven: You cannot disclose details without the superior’s approval to the police?

Zaaba: We have to protect the complainant’s safety.

Lawyer Andrew Khoo, representing the Malaysian Bar, had asked the religious officer the basis for Jais’ raid on DUMC six years ago.

“The basis was that the activity invited Muslims to break fast in a church. This could paint Islam in a bad light,” 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 Suhaila Nik Saleh.

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, 63, 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.

The inquiry will resume on Nov 23 and 24.