Pity the Koh children. They don’t have their father to celebrate Father’s Day, they don’t even know of his fate.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has urged those with information on the missing Malaysian activists to come forward and have their statement recorded from now until Jul 7. Statements could also be recorded through phone by contacting Suhakam’s complaint division at 019-3338490.
The missing activists are Pastor Raymond Koh, Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife, Ruth.
“With relevant information from the public and our continuing investigation, it is the intention of Suhakam to use this information to take the process further,” Chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in a statement.
Suhakam had on Apr 21 initiated its own probe over the mysterious nature of their disappearances, which had sparked much debate among the public.
Razali said much more needs to be done by the authorities considering that the cases remained unresolved and drew mounting public anxiety.
“Suhakam underscores that all direct victims and their families have the right to know the truth, to have effective access to justice and to obtain redress.
“The right to know the truth, which is the core of the issue, has an individual and collective dimension and the public at large are entitled to know about the circumstances of the missing person,” he said.
Razali also urged the authorities to swiftly investigate all cases with reasonable suspicion that an “enforced disappearance” might have occurred.
“Suhakam underlines that ready availability of information on issues of public concern is of vital importance in a democratic society with an avowed commitment to transparency,” he added.
Meanwhile, Susanna Liew, the wife of Koh, said she welcomed Suhakam’s investigation into the abduction of her husband on Feb 13 and the unsolved cases of disappearances.
“We are grateful that Suhakam has underscored the right of victims and families to have access to justice and the truth, and we will fully support the commission’s investigation, including giving our statements.
“We urge others who have information about these cases to step forward and to do the same, especially the authorities who have been less than transparent about these cases.
“I also agree with Suhakam that these cases are a matter of public concern and as such, the Malaysian public has a right to know the truth as well,” koh’s wife said.
Koh, 62, was abducted from his car in broad daylight by a group of over 10 men in a convoy of vehicles. CCTV footage shows a well-synchronised and professionally executed modus operandi.
Many have drawn the conclusion that the abduction smacked of a covert operation by a state-sponsored group and speculated that it may have been connected to his alleged attempt to spread Christianity.
Social activist Amri, 44, who co-founded charity organisation Perlis Hope, has been missing since Nov 24 last year. His wife, Norhayati Ariffin, said witnesses saw five vehicles blocking the path of Amri’s car just 550 metres from their home in Bukit Chabang, Perlis, before he was whisked away.
Joshua and his wife Ruth were last seen on Nov 30 last year.
In March, IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar blamed intense publicity for hampering investigations into Koh’s abduction. He also revealed that police had no leads to the case and the investigation was at a stalemate.
“To the media, individuals and NGOs who want to get involved in kidnap cases, shut your bloody mouth; you are putting the victim in a high degree of danger,” he lashed out.
In response, there was a media blackout for two months.
In May, Khalid announced a suspect had been detained – one week after the fact. No details were disclosed except that the suspect was picked up in a northern state.
Another month has passed, with nothing forthcoming from the police. What has come out of the suspect?
Khalid had asserted there was no cover-up.
So what lies behind the unnatural silence over Koh’s case? Malaysians have the right to know.