PETALING JAYA: The wives of the two activists who mysteriously vanished in Selangor and Perlis today pleaded with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to help them find their husbands, a month after a police informer allegedly said the men had been taken by a team from Bukit Aman.
In an open letter to Mahathir, Susanna Liew and Norhayati Mohd Ariffin said they were aware of the challenges faced by the Pakatan Harapan administration following the coalition’s victory in the May 9 election.
“However, your government is the one in power today: any delay in this matter could be seen by those inside and outside Malaysia as a breach in the rule of law and the denial of our husbands’ right to be protected under that same law,” they said.
Norhayati’s husband Amri Che Mat has not been seen since Nov 24, 2016. Witnesses in an inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) spoke of suspicious-looking men surrounding Amri’s vehicle on the night of his disappearance. His car was found some 20km from his house in Bukit Chabang, Perlis.
About 12 weeks later, on Feb 13, 2017, Liew’s husband Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted by several men in balaclavas using black SUVs to block his car in broad daylight on a busy road in Petaling Jaya. The incident was caught on CCTV from a nearby house.
Last month, Norhayati said she was approached by a man who identified himself as a police officer, and told her that her husband was taken by a team from Bukit Aman which was also responsible for Koh’s disappearance.
“When I asked him why Amri was taken, he alleged it was because of ‘Shia’ and ‘forex’,” she said.
She added that the officer, whom she identified as Sergeant Mohd Shamzaini Mohd Daud, also told her that Koh had been taken because he “allegedly proselytised Muslims”.
However, the police later told the Suhakam inquiry that Shamzaini had denied sharing any information on Amri’s case.
They presented a May 18 police report by Shamzaini denying everything Norhayati had claimed.
Liew and Norhayati said they had done everything within their power to expedite investigations into the new lead, including lodging a police report, providing information and writing to the police.
Norhayati had also appealed to Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to guarantee Shamzaini’s safety, saying he might not be willing to testify without adequate protection or legal immunity.
“As feared, it appears now that Norhayati’s concerns were justified,” they said.
“We believe that there is compelling evidence that our husbands were deprived of their liberty by parties acting with the knowledge, support and/or concealment of the act by state actors, and that this placed our husbands outside the protection of the law.”
They said they also believed that their husbands’ disappearances were linked to religious issues, and urged the government to launch an independent investigation of the claims.
“We also plead with the Attorney-General’s Chambers to quickly provide a safe space for whistleblowers to come forward with knowledge about our husbands’ abductions: who took them, where they are now and who was involved in this high-level conspiracy of silence.
“We include Sergeant Shamzaini in this request for immunity, especially since his confession that night may well have exposed him to efforts to pressure him into silence or to retract his confession, as he seems to have done in the unsigned police report submitted by PDRM at the Suhakam inquiry on May 30.
“Please help us find out what happened to our husbands, who took them and where they are now. We want them back with us. We beg for justice. We plead for the truth.”