Unacceptable, says Pastor Koh’s wife on task force composition

Susanna Liew, the wife of Pastor Raymond Koh.

KUALA LUMPUR: The wife of Pastor Raymond Koh has joined the chorus of criticism against the composition of the task force set up to probe the disappearance of Koh and Amri Che Mat.

Susanna Liew said in a statement that the government had ignored the family’s suggestion to include a member of the Bar Council, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commisison and a representative of an NGO.

Also, she said the composition “does not include any woman or any other member of a different race or religion to reflect the composition of this country and the muhibah spirit which the Pakatan Harapan government promised will be implemented if they come to power”.

She said if the above two had been done, the task force would have “reflected a more balanced, independent, transparent and representative task force which would be recognised by the public as independent, trustworthy and fair”.

Liew regretted that three of the six task force members were police officers.

“To make matters worse, Mokhtar Mohd Noor, who was at the Suhakam hearing submitting on behalf of the police, was appointed as a member of the task force.

“If a police officer who participated in the Suhakam hearing can be appointed into the task force, then a lawyer from each of the families should also be appointed in order to ensure a balanced and fair approach to the investigation and the report that is to be submitted.

“We find this totally unacceptable and we believe that in any part of the democratic civilised world, this would not happen.”

Commenting on a statement by Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin that the task force might start with Amri’s case to avoid sub judice as there was a pending court case related to the abduction of Koh, Liew said it was not sub judice to investigate if the Special Branch had been involved in the abductions.

It was also not sub judice to investigate whether one Saiful Bahari Abd Aziz, then attached to the Police Training Centre, was involved, just as it was not sub judice to investigate if the “seven vehicles and 15 masked individuals” who allegedly abducted Koh, were members of the police force, she said.

In addition, she said, the court case against one Lam Chang Nam for kidnapping was a “red-herring to prevent the truth from being discovered and to derail the Suhakam inquiry” which named the Special Branch as being involved in the disappearance of Koh and Amri.

“It is important that the investigation into Amri’s case and that of Pastor Raymond Koh be looked at together as there are similar facts, similar modus operandi and similar vehicles used.”

Liew urged the home minister to allow the task force to simultaneously investigate both cases.

Koh has been missing since Feb 13, 2017 while Amri, the founder of Perlis NGO Hope went missing on Nov 24, 2016.

In April, a Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) inquiry concluded that they were victims of enforced disappearance.

“The panel is of the considered view that the enforced disappearance of Amri was carried out by agents of the state, namely the Special Branch, Bukit Aman.

“The disappearance of pastor Raymond Koh was neither a case of voluntary disappearance nor a case of involuntary disappearance in breach of the ordinary criminal law.

“The directive and circumstantial evidence in Koh’s case also proves that he was abducted by the Special Branch,” the Suhakam panel had said.