Ex-Suhakam Chief: Missing Activists Report Made Public to Provoke Reaction

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The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) wanted to provoke reactions from the public and the establishment by making public its report on two missing activists, said former chairman Razali Ismail.

He told The Malaysian Insight in an interview that the public inquiry was a desperate attempt to get answers on missing Pastor Raymond Koh and Perlis activist Amri Che Mat.

“If we had given the report to the police first before going public, they would have stonewalled it.  

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

“They would have asked for changes to be made and then it wouldn’t be a bona fide report,” he said just days after resigning as the chairman of the commission.

Razali had quit the commission on April 15, two weeks before his three-year tenure has ended. He was scheduled to end his term of appointment on April 27.

On April 3, after an 18-month public inquiry, Suhakam concluded that police’s Special Branch from Bukit Aman had abducted the men.

The panel based its findings on both direct and circumstantial evidence and after evaluating all the clues comprehensively.

Immediately after the release of the report, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun had said that Suhakam should not have announced the public inquiry report to the people, and should have handed it to the police, Home Ministry and other relevant authorities.

However, Razali said Suhakam did the right thing by making the report public.

“The police would not have performed their duty to the people.

“But, Suhakam definitely would not do it (give the police the report). That’s the position the commission had taken.”

He added he was keen to see how members of Parliament would react to the report and its findings.

“I’m eagerly waiting on what they will do.

“The report has had an impact on the police so we need to see what the MPs have to say and their reaction to the report.”

He said the people and the Parliament need to pressure the police to act.

“Suhakam can give the report to any number of agencies, but there must be a pronouncement from the executive, if not nothing will happen.”

As for police cooperation during the inquiry, Razali said he concurred with report’s finding that the police didn’t cooperate as much as they should.

“Of course the police would say they have cooperated. If I’m the top cop, I will say they cooperated but it depends on what type of cooperation that was given.”

The inquiry was established to ascertain if Amri, Koh and two others – pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife, Ruth – were victims of enforced disappearance.

International human rights law defines forced disappearance or enforced disappearance as when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organisation, or by a third party with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of a state or political organisation. – TMI