Burden of proof lay with the police to show that they were not responsible.
A group of eight individual lawyers and Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (Caged) say the government has one month to prioritise investigations into the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat or legal action would be taken.
Lawyer Andy Yong said they were demanding that the government set up a special task force to investigate the matter, and for family members of the missing persons to get firsthand information on what transpired, and possibly monetary compensation for the families.
Should these demands not be met, he said, the lawyers and the citizens group would be filing a lawsuit against the government of the day under the Government Proceedings Act.
While acknowledging the incidents occurred under the previous administration, Yong said it was only possible to sue the government of the day.
The respondents to the lawsuit, he said, would be the current administration, Home Ministry and the current Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
“We look at these cases very seriously because, ultimately, we want to put on record that this is a case of grave public interest and concern.
“It is erroneous that the government should take such a lackadaisical attitude.
“It is high time for the government to restore public confidence and for us to find out the truth,” Yong said at a press conference on Saturday (April 6).
Should the government fail to respond, Yong said they would bring the government to court “to seek judicial redress on the basis of natural justice”.
He said they would also be asking family members of the missing persons if they wanted to participate in this legal action.
Aside from Yong, the other lawyers who are part of the group are Ivanpal Singh Grewal, Cyrus Foo Woei, Ong Siang Liang, Chai Ko Ting, Raymond Leong and legal officers NC Lam and Bavinia Raj.
Caged spokesman Rama Ramanathan said the enforced disappearances of the missing persons were an issue of “national importance”.
He said there was no questioning the credentials of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) panellists who issued the findings that were very clear.
“We have two reports by Suhakam by a very distinguished panel that says it is the police.
“What possible benefit do they have for producing what is allegedly a report based on hearsay?” Rama said.
The panel of inquiry consists of commissioners Datuk Mah Weng Kwai as chairman, Prof Datuk Dr Aishah Bidin and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh.
Rama said according to Suhakam, the burden of proof lay with the police to show that they were not responsible.
The Suhakam public inquiry revealed on Wednesday (April 3) that there was direct and circumstantial evidence which proved, on balance of probabilities, that Koh and Amri were abducted by the Special Branch of Bukit Aman.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said an investigation into Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun would be conducted once he retired as IGP on May 4.
Fuzi was the Special Branch head at the time the two men went missing.