Govt adds 2 more members to task force on missing duo

Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin with the initial line-up of task force members.

PETALING JAYA: The home ministry today announced the additional appointment of a lawyer and an assistant commissioner from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to the task force set up to investigate the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat.

In a statement, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said he hoped the appointment of Roger Tan and MACC’s Azian Umar would help the task force carry out its probe without concerns of prejudice.

“We have taken into account the views of the public on the composition of the special task force, many of whom feel that it should be seen as balanced and independent,” he said.

The line-up of the task force, announced last month, had drawn criticism from NGOs and civil society groups which said at least three of the members including its chairman should have been rejected from the get-go.

They named Mokhtar Mohd Noor, a former police legal division head who had made submissions on behalf of the police during the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) hearing, as well as Zamri Yahya, who was Bukit Aman’s Integrity and Standard Compliance Department director, and Abd Rahim Uda, a retired High Court judge assigned to lead the task force.

Mokhtar withdrew from the task force earlier this month.

The other members of the task force are Muhammad Bukhari Ab Hamid, director of operations at the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission; Mohd Sophian Zakaria, legal officer at the public prosecution division of the Attorney-General’s Chambers; and Mohd Russaini Idrus, secretary at the Police Force Commission for the home ministry.

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

In April, the Suhakam inquiry concluded that they were the victims of “enforced disappearance”.

The panel also accused the Special Branch of being behind the disappearances.

In his statement today, Muhyiddin defended Zamri’s inclusion in the task force, saying his department has the authority to summon police personnel to have their statements taken.