Criticism Against Composition of Task Force

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Families of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri, as well as civil society group Caged find task force line-up unacceptable.

The families of missing pastor Raymond Koh and Perlis activist Amri Che Mat have questioned the appointments to the task force probing the disappearances of the two men.

They said that the composition of the task force does not reflect the multiracial spirit of the country and did not include any female representative.

A special six-man team was formed by the Cabinet last month, led by former High Court Judge Datuk Abd Ramin Uda. The other members consist of former Royal Malaysian Police Legal Unit chief Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Noor, Bukit Aman Integrity and Standard Compliance department director Datuk Zamri Yahya, Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission operations director Datuk Bukhari Ab Hamid, Attorney General’s Chambers public prosecution division legal officer Mohd Sophian Zakaria, and Police Force Commission (SPP) for the Home Ministry secretary Mohd Russaini Idrus.

Koh’s wife Susanna Liew said that the task force’s formation “does not include any woman or any other member of a different race or religion to reflect the composition of this country and the muhibah spirit which the Pakatan Harapan government promised will be implemented if they come to power”.

She earlier suggested that a representative from the Bar Council, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and a non-government organisation be included in the team.

Liew said the team would have been more balanced, independent, and transparent, if their suggestions were considered.

Both families specifically questioned the inclusion of Mokhtar due to conflict of interest.

“We note that Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Noor, the former head of Bukit Aman’s Legal Division, is a member of this Task Force. This is the same division that was implicated in the flawed investigation into Amri’s abduction and later, in the team representing PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police) during the Suhakam inquiry.

FMT

“As such, Datuk Mokhtar is clearly an interested party and so, represents a conflict of interest,” said Amri’s wife Norhayati Mohd Ariffin.

Koh’s family expressed their grave concern on the strong presence of police officials on the team.

“It is with regret that the family notes that three out of six task force members are police officers and to make matters much worse, YBhg Datuk Mokhtar bin Mohd Noor, who was at the Suhakam hearing submitting on behalf of the police, was appointed as a member of the task force.

“If a police officer who participated in the Suhakam hearing can be appointed into the task force, then a lawyer from each of the families should also be appointed in order to ensure a balanced and fair approach to the investigation and the report that is to be submitted.

FMT

“We find this totally unacceptable and we believe that in any part of the democratic civilised world, this would not happen,” the family said in a statement.

The family also called for the investigation of Koh’s abduction to be looked into together with Amri’s, adding that it will not be subjudice against ride-sharing driver Lam Chang Nam’s pending court case.

Lam had previously pleaded not guilty to kidnapping Koh and has claimed trial to a charge of extorting RM30,000 from Koh’s son, Jonathan.

“It is important that the investigation into Amri’s case and that of Koh’s be looked at together. as there is similar factual evidence, a similar modus operandi and similar vehicles used, as well and the same police officer from Bukit Aman was put in charge of both investigations,” Koh’s family said.

In a separate statement, the Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (Caged) also questioned the appointment of the six-man team, saying all citizens should reject the supposed special task force.

“All right-thinking Malaysians must reject this supposed special task force,” it said in a statement on Wednesday (June 26).

It said that Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must “question the persons who advised him on the membership of this task force”.

Caged questioned the appointment of three members of the task force, including Abd Rahim. 

It also said Zamri’s department should be within the scope of investigation of the task force, while Mokhtar had appeared and made the closing arguments for the police during the Suhakam inquiry.

Caged added that a credible task force will restore honour to the police by revealing the truth and punishing the officers and also help reform the police.

The special task force was formed following Suhakam’s verdict last April that Bukit Aman’s Special Branch was likely to be behind the disappearances.

Koh, who founded the non-government organisation (NGO) Harapan Komuniti, was believed to have been abducted in broad daylight by a group of men along Jalan SS4B/10 in Petaling Jaya on February 13, 2017. He was said to be on his way to a friend’s house.

Amri, a co-founder of the NGO Perlis Hope, went missing at about 11.30pm on November 24, 2016, after leaving his home in Kangar in an SUV.


Earlier report: Jun 26, Ex-High Court Judge Heads Six-Man Task Force in Amri, Koh Probe