At candlelight vigil, hundreds pray for safe return of abducted pastor

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
The wife of missing Pastor Raymond Koh, Susanna Liew addressing the crowd during the candlelight vigil outside the Selangor police headquarters in Shah Alam, March 5, 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SHAH ALAM, March 5 — Hundreds of Malaysians gathered tonight at a candlelight vigil to pray for the safe return of Pastor Raymond Koh, who was abducted on February 13 by masked men.

The crowd turned up in droves at the vigil that was held near the Selangor police headquarters, and gathered at the entrance of the building before police dispersed the crowd.

Security was also tightened around the area, with some 50 police officers and members of the Light Strike Force (LSF) being stationed at the roads heading towards the police headquarters.

In her speech to the crowd, Koh’s wife Susanna Liew Sow Yoke made a tearful plea to the attendees to pray for her husband’s safety and asked the abductors to return her husband home.

“We will meet him again and to the abductors, please, please release him. He’s a good man, he’s been helping the poor, the marginalised, the needy.

“He’s been giving free food for the poor in KL. He’s been helping those affected with HIV AIDS and even started a football team for the youths and play football with them. I just ask that we will continue to work towards his safe return,” Liew said, tearing up.

She also pleaded to anyone with information on Koh’s abduction to step forward and help the police.

“God bless Malaysia, God bless each one of you,” she said holding back tears.

Among those present at the candlelight vigil were Selangor State Assembly Speaker Hannah Yeoh, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Datuk Dr Mujahid Rawa, Amanah president Mohamed Sabu, Damansara Utama state assemblyman Yeoh Bee Yin, Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru and several other leaders.

Koh’s wife had previously said her husband, who founded a group called Harapan Komuniti that was started over 10 years ago and works with marginalised communities, had no known enemies.

The family is offering a reward of RM100,000 to anyone with information of his whereabouts.

Posters circulating online have called for Malaysians to gather at candlelight vigils for Koh tonight outside the Selangor police headquarters in Shah Alam, in Johor Baru and Georgetown, Penang.