KUALA LUMPUR: A witness in a public inquiry into the disappearance of Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth has failed to produce any evidence of emails allegedly sent by Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin to the missing pastor.
Despite that, Selvakumar Peace John Harris insisted at the Suhakam inquiry into the disappearance of Joshua and Ruth that the emails were authentic, even alleging that the former youth and sports minister “was behind” the pastor’s disappearance.
“This is my conviction based on what I saw. The circumstantial evidence is pointing to him. Even though these emails are not very strong proof, I think it’s pointing towards that direction,” he told the panel of commissioners here today.
However, he admitted that he did not have any copies or screenshots of the emails, telling the inquiry that Joshua had shown him the emails on separate occasions on his phone and laptop.
Yesterday, Selvakumar claimed that Khairy had warned Joshua in several emails to leave Malaysia and that the MP had had several email exchanges with the missing pastor.
Khairy later strongly denied the allegations, saying he did not personally know the pastor nor the witness and had never communicated with Joshua through email or other forms of communication.
Selvakumar claimed the first email, which was cc-ed to former prime minister Najib Razak, carried Khairy’s official email address and that the former minister then asked Joshua to send emails to his unofficial address.
Pressed further, he said he could not recall the use of any letterheads in the email nor the exact email address used.
He told the inquiry that Joshua had communicated to Khairy mostly in English, adding that the pastor had addressed the Rembau MP as “Abang Khairy”.
He said the content of the exchange with Khairy’s unofficial email was about a theological dispute between the two.
“I seem to remember one question where Khairy was asking, ‘How come you are not persecuted when Jesus said my followers will be persecuted’?” he claimed.
He said Joshua had also received threats through phone calls, causing the pastor to tell Selvakumar of the problem he was facing.
He refused to tell the inquiry the details of what Joshua told him, saying he could not verify what the pastor had said and instead agreed to testify in camera on the specific matter.
He also maintained that he had no personal vendetta against Khairy in giving his testimony.
Joshua, a Malay Muslim who converted to Christianity, and his wife Ruth Sitepu, have been missing for three years. They were last seen on Nov 30, 2016.
Suhakam has previously held public inquiries into the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh and Perlis activist Amri Che Mat, and the inquiry panel had concluded that they were victims of enforced disappearance.