No record missing pastor Joshua Hilmy left Malaysia in 2016

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There was no record of missing pastor Joshua Hilmy leaving Malaysia in 2016, testified an immigration assistant enforcement officer.

During today’s inquiry before the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Junainh Dalugamin @ Daulgamin said this was based on checks into the immigration’s system.

The 32-year-old witness is testifying during the inquiry to ascertain whether Hilmy, who was a Muslim who converted to Christianity, and his wife Ruth Sitepu were victims of enforced disappearance.

The last time they were seen was on Nov 30, 2016. However, they were only reported missing on March 6, 2017.

Junainh today was replying to a question posed by Bar Council representative SP Chandra during the inquiry conducted online via Zoom.

Chandra: Is there a record of Hilmy leaving Malaysia after Nov 2016?

Junainh: Checks with our department found no record, with the last record with the department being Hilmy coming back to Malaysia in 2012.

The witness today referred to written documents showing “No Record” on Hilmy leaving Malaysia based on the last known passport issued by the Penang immigration department.

According to a copy of the document shared on-screen during the online inquiry today, the passport was valid from Nov 24, 2015, until Nov 24, 2020.

Junainh testified that the immigration records indicated that Hilmy, using an earlier passport issued by Sarawak, shown that the last time he entered Malaysia was via the Bayan Lepas International Airport on Jan 7, 2012.

Meanwhile, when queried by Suhakam panel chairperson, commissioner Hishamuddin Yunus, Junainh testified that the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has issued a travel blacklist against Hilmy effective Oct 9, last year.

“Our checks showed that Hilmy Hanim (Hilmy’s name according to Malaysia’s official Identification Card) has a travel restriction by the Inland Revenue Board beginning Oct 9, 2020, and its status is still active,” she said.

She explained that the Immigration department cooperates with other government agencies such as the IRB and the police when it comes to barring certain individuals from leaving Malaysia.

When queried by Hishamudin on Indonesian Sitepu’s travel history, Junainh said that her checks did not show any records.

Junainh was referring to documents shown in today’s inquiry regarding the travel history of Sitepu as “No Record”.

Meanwhile, during the inquiry today, Muhammad Sabri, who was observing proceedings for the police, made reference to a document alleging that Hilmy had once been arrested and served jail time in Indonesia over an immigration offence.

Muhammad raised the matter when putting forward questions to Junainh on whether it was possible for Malaysian immigration to detect Hilmy’s entry into Malaysia if he had at one point been detained in Indonesia.

According to a portion of the document, it was alleged that Hilmy was jailed in Indonesia for five years due to an expired passport and that afterward, a police officer allegedly helped him return to Malaysia.

However, Hishamudin later pointed out that the document was not exactly clear on what actually happened, such as how Hilmy came back to Malaysia, and that it read instead like a story.

The inquiry is set to resume on July 16.

The other members of the Suhakam panel are commissioners Jerald Joseph and Madeline Berma.

Counsel Philip Koh, Cyrus Tiu, and Audrey Pillay appeared for the Sitepu family during proceedings today. – Malaysiakini