Hearsay, says Dr M on Suhakam’s claim of ‘enforced disappearances’

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has labelled Suhakam’s findings that pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat had been victims of “enforced disappearances” as “hearsay”.

At a press conference after a PPBM Supreme Council meeting, Mahathir said evidence must be produced. “I don’t know if they (Suhakam) have evidence to prove this is what happened. If they have, of course, we will take it up.

“But please remember this did not happen during our time. It happened under the previous government. A lot of things were hidden from us and the public,” he said when asked to comment on the issue.

On whether a special task force on the enforced disappearances will be set up, Mahathir said if there was clear evidence, then it will be set up to investigate the matter.

Mahathir said Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohamad Fuzi Harun will retire soon and that he will be allowed to retire first.

“Then we will have another IGP who will conduct the investigations.”

Earlier today, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) held Bukit Aman’s Special Branch responsible for the disappearances.

In announcing the findings of its inquiry into Amri and Koh’s disappearances, Suhakam commissioner Mah Weng Kwai said police had refused to reclassify the cases from abduction to “enforced disappearance” despite calls for them to do so.

An MP and human rights groups have called for Fuzi to be investigated over the enforced disappearances.

Fuzi was the former Special Branch chief at the time. He will be retiring from service on May 4.

There have also been calls for former IGP Khalid Abu Bakar to be investigated.

Perlis-based activist Amri went missing in late 2016. CCTV footage showed at least 15 men and three black SUVs were involved in the abduction of Koh in broad daylight in February 2017 in Kelana Jaya here.

Sale of Equanimity

Mahathir also responded to criticism from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, over the sale of the superyacht Equanimity at a “fire sale price” of US$126 million to Genting Malaysia Bhd.

“He can come here and make that allegation and I will go to court to defend my decision.”

Earlier today, Low claimed if the government had not “illegally seized” the Equanimity from Indonesia and docked it in “a hazardous environment” in Port Klang, the vessel would have maintained its value and it could have “avoided a fire sale”.

PPBM’s entry into Sabah

Mahathir also spoke on PPBM’s impending expansion into Sabah saying there were parties seeking to take advantage of the situation.

He said PPBM was going to Sabah to support the Warisan-led state government, not to topple it.

“There are parties who don’t agree with Warisan who will try to use PPBM to fight Warisan.

“We don’t need these people as members. PPBM is dedicated to supporting Warisan in Sabah.”

He added PPBM has yet to decide on who will lead the party’s chapter in Sabah but will announce it when it goes there.

Mahathir will launch PPBM in Sabah on Saturday.

On Feb 14, Mahathir had confirmed PPBM’s entry into Sabah, saying it will enhance cooperation with those who left Umno but were reluctant to join Pakatan Haparan’s ally in the state, Warisan.

Warisan president and Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal had expressed concern earlier that PPBM would set up a chapter in the state.

On March 14, PPBM accepted eight former Sabah Umno leaders into the party.

They were Sabah Umno chief Hajiji Mohd Noor, Azizah Mohd Dun, Masidi Manjun, Ronald Kiandee, Abdul Rahim Bakri, Zakaria Edris, Abdul Ghani Yassin and John Ambrose.

Mahathir also said that PPBM will conduct an emergency general meeting (EGM) next month to amend the party’s constitution on how the party is managed at the branch and division levels.

The party polls will be held during its annual general meeting later this year, he added.