A witness in the Suhakam public inquiry told the panel today that Pastor Joshua and wife Ruth Hilmy wanted to flee the country when he started receiving “threatening” phone calls.
Selvakumar Peace John Harris said Joshua could have received the calls beginning 2015 but added that he was not told who had made those alleged calls.
“Earlier when he first received the threats, he wanted to vacate the house (in Kampung Tunku) and had plans to leave the country.
“He was trying to do it, but he didn’t have the ability to do so,” Selvakumar said.
Last month, witness Grace Thangamalar told the public inquiry that Joshua and Ruth were troubled after receiving a phone call before they went missing.
The daughter of Joshua’s friend, Peter Pormannan, Grace said she heard from a Sabahan couple temporarily living with them that Joshua had argued with someone over the phone in 2016.
“The Sabahan said that it was a heated conversation. They told me they heard Joshua on the phone saying, ‘I didn’t disturb you, why are you disturbing me?’” she said.
Suhakam officer Simon Karunagaram asked Selvakumar if emails (allegedly from Khairy Jamaluddin) had put pressure on Joshua and Ruth to leave.
“You said although the emails sounded friendly, but Joshua saw the seriousness of it?” asked Karunagaram.
Selvakumar said the e-mails were not pressing enough for them to vacate their home and leave.
“It’s not so much the e-mails, but the phone calls they had received.”
The former youth and sports minister was named in the inquiry for allegedly sending emails to Joshua warning the couple to leave the country.
Selvakumar, who owned the Petaling Jaya house where Joshua and Ruth lived, told the hearing that Khairy allegedly sent several emails to Joshua.
The emails and warning to leave were over Joshua’s alleged conversion of Muslims to Christianity, Selvakumar told the inquiry panel yesterday.
Khairy, however, denied sending any emails or communicating with the missing Joshua, as alleged by Selvakumar.
The former cabinet member said he did not know Joshua, his wife Ruth or Selvakumar.
Khairy said that he had never communicated with Joshua either by email or any other form of communication, adding that Selvakumar’s testimony was not true.
Chief commissioner Hishamuddin Yunus questioned Selvakumar today about Khairy’s denial.
Selvakumar, however, said that he remained convinced that Khairy had sent the e-mails to Joshua.
Lawyer representing Ruth’s family, Philip Koh, asked if Selvakumar could remember the sender’s e-mail address.
“Was there a letterhead or government crest?”
Selvakumar said he doesn’t recall seeing those.
Little else is known about Joshua and Ruth, who are suspected to be victims of enforced disappearance. In 2018, two years after their disappearance, Ruth’s siblings lodged a missing person’s report.
Ruth’s family came from the fishing village of Nambiki in northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
International human rights laws define 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.
The Suhakam panel is chaired by commissioner Hishamuddin Yunus, assisted by commissioners Jerald Joseph and Madeline Berma. – TMI