Missing pastor’s family in the dark on ‘task force’ announced by Muhyiddin

Susanna Koh

PETALING JAYA: The family of Pastor Raymond Koh is hoping that the government will follow up on a recent announcement to set up a task force on his case, following the findings by the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) last April.

But Susanna Koh, whose husband was mysteriously abducted in 2017, said she had not heard any details on the task force other than the announcement by Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as reported by the media.

“Also, there is no formal statement by the minister. Therefore, we do not know the task force’s terms of reference, composition, powers, etc. We can only say what we hope for,” she said in a statement.

She said the task force should comprised “unbiased” police officers as well as representatives from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Bar Council, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and activist groups who monitored the Suhakam inquiry, adding that it should “reopen and re-investigate” the missing person case instead of “studying the report”.

On May 23, Muhyiddin said the home ministry took seriously Suhakam’s inquiry findings, which said that Koh and Perlis-based activist Amri Che Mat had been victims of “enforced disappearances” involving members of the police’s Special Branch.

“The report has been presented to us and we have taken a look at it. There were some points raised that we consider to be serious, especially where it shows police were involved in the disappearance of these two people,” he said.

Muhyiddin had said that “six or seven” people would make up the task force, adding that candidates had been identified to lead the team.

Koh was abducted on Feb 13, 2017 in Petaling Jaya, while Amri went missing on Nov 24, 2016, after leaving his home.

Koh was accused of proselytisation of Muslims, a claim strongly denied by his family, while Amri was reportedly harassed over his leanings towards Shia Islam, the school of thought which Malaysian religious authorities label as “deviant”.

Susanna said the task force should have a specified time-frame to complete its job and should update the family on its progress.

“It is now over 847 days since Raymond disappeared and over 928 days since Amri disappeared.

“We hope it will not be many more days before Raymond and Amri are located and the perpetrators of the crimes against them are tried,” she said.