Task force to investigate missing men must be credible, says NGO

Pastor Raymond Koh (left) and activist Amri Che Mat.

PETALING JAYA: A non-governmental organisation has welcomed the government’s announcement that it is forming a task force to investigate the link between the police and the disappearance of two men, saying it is glad there is “some semblance of progress”.

However, Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) said the task force, announced by Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Thursday to investigate the disappearance of pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat, must have “teeth” to be credible.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) had said at the end of an inquiry that Bukit Aman’s Special Branch was behind the disappearance of the duo.

It described the two men as victims of “enforced disappearances”.

“CAGED is pleased that sense appears to have prevailed in the Cabinet and that the Suhakam commissioners’ painstaking work is no longer pooh-poohed as being based on hearsay,” it said in a statement yesterday.

It said the task force should include members of civil society and other agencies and should keep the two men’s families and Suhakam informed of its progress at regular intervals.

CAGED also urged Muhyiddin to “develop a sense of urgency” and provide timely disclosures on proposed steps for the task force.

“The public is entitled to much more than off-hand comments on the sidelines of unrelated meetings,” it said.

Announcing the task force earlier, Muhyiddin said “six or seven” people had been identified to make up the team.

“There were some points raised (in the Suhakam report) that we consider to be serious, especially where it shows police were involved in the disappearance of these two people,” he said.

On a separate matter, CAGED urged the government to appoint members to Suhakam since the terms of the commissioners expired a month ago.