KUALA LUMPUR: Describing Suhakam’s finding that the police had abducted Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh as “the most chilling news I have read in a while”, MP Charles Santiago called for the inspector-general of police Fuzi Harun to be investigated.
The Klang MP also wants the government to investigate all other police officers complicit in this crime and to declare these cases as enforced disappearances.
He said the case showed clearly that an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) must be set up without delay, adding “we cannot allow the police to ‘police’ themselves anymore”.
This morning, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission or Suhakam as it is better known, held the Special Branch responsible for the disappearance of both Amri and Koh. Perlis-based activist Amri went missing in late 2016 while Koh was seen being abducted by several men in broad daylight in February 2017.
Santiago said Suhakam’s conclusion that both Amri and Koh were victims of forced disappearance “officially makes the country a police state”, noting that the Special Branch was “supposed to protect us”.
Saying enforced disappearance was a crime against humanity, the DAP MP added: “It’s clear that the retiring police chief, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, was hiding information about the disappearances of Pastor Koh and Amri despite their families going through hope and despair.
“This is heinous and Fuzi must be investigated for covering up this violation of human rights and crime under international human rights law.”
He said Fuzi must also come clean as to the whereabouts of both men and also that of Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu who disappeared in November 2016.
“These kidnapping have raised fears of religious vigilantism in the country as Pastor Joshua, a Malay Muslim who converted to Christianity, had been suspected of attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity.”
Santiago noted that Amri had been accused of spreading Shia Islam, an accusation denied by his wife, and that Koh was investigated by Islamic authorities for attempting to convert Muslims when they hosted a party with Muslim attendees at a church.
“Abducting these people is a grave violation of police powers. The police have no right to place them outside the protection of the law and if needed should have charged them in an open court instead.”
It was time, therefore, to set-up the IPCMC which was mooted 14 years ago.
“Each of us needs to feel safe in our country. We need to believe that the police have our backs; that they will protect us. But we don’t. Suhakam’s report will further erode public perception of the police and rightfully so.”
He also called on the government to start initiating the ratification process of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.