Missing pastor and wife could have been under travel ban, inquiry told

Immigration assistant director Hamid Momong tells Suhakam inquiry of trips abroad by Raymond Koh and Susanna Liew.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pastor Raymond Koh and his wife Susanna Liew did not leave the country in 2012 but they made many foreign trips before and after that year, according to immigration assistant director Hamid Momong.

He told an inquiry held by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) into the disappearance of the pastor that immigration records showed the couple made many trips out of the country in 2011 and between 2013 and 2017.

“From January till December in 2014 and 2015, Koh and his wife made an average of three foreign trips per month. They also left the country in 2016 but made fewer trips, about one per month.

“In 2017, there were two recorded trips. The record for 2012, however, could not be captured via the system of passport usage,” he testified as the 12th witness at Suhakam’s headquarters today.

Hamid did not rule out the possibility raised by inquiry panel chairman Mah Weng Kwai that Koh and his wife could have been barred from travelling out of the country in 2012.

“Perhaps (barred in 2012), but I can’t ascertain that,” he said.

Earlier, Liew said she and her husband had received a white packet that contained two bullets and a threatening note on Aug 26, 2011.

She said this happened more than three weeks after the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided a charity dinner organised by Hope Community that was also attended by Muslims at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church on Aug 3, 2011.

Liew said she and Koh were banned from leaving the country seven and nine times, respectively, between October 2011 and October 2012.

They were also questioned by officers of the police Special Branch.

She said she suspected the two incidents were linked to the charity dinner.

Hamid also explained the two operational procedures by the immigration department in identifying individuals for observation and surveillance.

“One is by denying them facilities, such as a travel ban, while the second is merely to record their movements and submit them to the relevant agencies, without further action,” he said.

Hamid identified the relevant agencies as his own department, the police and the home ministry, and other authorities empowered to conduct investigations and prosecution.

In April last year, former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said the disappearance of Koh might be connected with his efforts to evangelise Christianity in the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia.

Police received several reports alleging Koh visited Kangar, Perlis, on Jan 19 and 29 to influence a group of youths to embrace the Christian faith.

Koh was abducted by a group of masked men at Jalan SS4B/10, less than 100 metres from the police housing complex at Kelana Jaya, on Feb 13 while he was driving his Honda Accord with plate number ST 5515 D.

He was heading to a friend’s house in Kelana Jaya at the time. A video of the abduction showed a well-planned operation involving more than 10 men and seven vehicles.