We’ll consider task force ‘bogus’ until chairman removed, says CAGED

Pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat.

PETALING JAYA: Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) said it would consider as “bogus” the task force formed to probe the disappearance of an activist and a pastor until two of its members are removed and its terms of reference are made public.

In a statement, the group called for ex-High Court judge Rahim Uda and police Integrity and Standard Compliance Department (JIPS) head Zamri Yahya to step down.

Rahim is the chairman of the task force.

“Each day, Rahim and Zamri stay on is another day of rising public doubt over the government’s commitment in establishing truth and justice.”

It went on to say that if Rahim and Zamri were serious about obtaining closure for the victims’ families, the police force and the nation, they should immediately resign from the task force.

The pair, it said, should act honourably, as did another task force member, Moktar Mohd Noor, who quit 10 days ago.

The former chief of the police legal division withdrew from the task force after several groups claimed that his presence posed a conflict of interest.

“CAGED will consider the ‘task force’ bogus until Rahim and Zamri are removed, until the terms of reference are published and shown to match Suhakam’s recommendations and until the task force has the statutory power to do the investigative work which the police didn’t do, act against officers who engaged in misconduct and find (activist) Amri Che Mat and (Pastor) Raymond Koh.”

CAGED went on to give three reasons why Rahim should be removed from the task force.

One, it argued was Rahim’s decision to uphold the “open verdict” of a lower court regarding political aide Teoh Beng Hock’s cause of death. Rahim had agreed with the lower’s court’s finding that Teoh’s death was neither a suicide or homicide.

Teoh was an aide to a Selangor assemblyman who died in the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in 2009.

The Court of Appeal later overruled Rahim’s decision. It decided there was sufficient evidence to conclude Teoh’s death was a homicide and the three judges were unanimous in their opinion that Rahim had failed to take into account public interest.

The second reason, CAGED said, was based on the assessment by one of the judges, Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof — the current Dewan Rakyat speaker — of Rahim.

Ariff said Rahim failed to properly evaluate “the conduct of … officers” and evidence of a “cover-up”. CAGED alleged this showed that Rahim “was biased towards the powerful”.

“There is a third reason why Rahim’s membership of the task force is odious. Suhakam’s evidence-based conclusion has rightly caused severe damage to the reputation of the police,” it said, referring to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.

CAGED said only the inclusion of a senior judge who retired with honour — for example ex-Federal Court judge Mohamad Noor Ahmad — will satisfy honourable policemen that the inspector-general of police and the government are serious about eliminating bad elements in the force.

Raymond Koh has been missing since Feb 13, 2017. Amri Che Mat, 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.