Churches appeal for PM to meet family of ‘enforced disappearance’ victims

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Pastor Raymond Koh (pic) was among several people abducted in the last three years in what National Human Rights Commission claimed were acts of police-enforced disappearance.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) appealed today for Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to meet the families of the purported victims of enforced disappearances.

Archbishop Julian Leow, group chairman, reportedly said organising a meeting with the PM will be the best next move for the grieving family members, whom until today remained in the dark about what had happened to their loved ones.

“We have already engaged in discussions with some ministers, as well as during our meetings with the prime minister himself,” Leow was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.

“After this, CFM will be writing to the prime minister to secure an appointment with the families of enforced disappearance victims.”

CFM held a press conference this morning together with Pastor Raymond Koh’s family, where they announced their intention to push Putrajaya to intercede and solve the disappearances.

Koh was among several people abducted in the last three years in what National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) claimed were acts of police-enforced disappearance.

Susanna Liew, the missing pastor’s spouse, was present at the press conference where she handed a copy of the Suhakam report to CFM.

The commission in its report concluded that the Special Branch, the mysterious police intelligence unit, were behind the abduction of Koh and Amri Che Mat, following its own inquiry.

Amri is believed to be a Shiite activist. Malaysia, which follows the Sunni sect, forbids Shiites from practicing.

CFM said Suhakam’s findings called for urgent action and the government must investigate the Special Branch immediately.

“Now that this has been established by Suhakam, immediate action must be taken to investigate the Special Branch of Bukit Aman, and to secure the release of Amri and Koh,” Leow said.

“Any allegations of any breach of any law can be investigated, and due process pursued in accordance with the rule of law, but they must be produced immediately.”

The police have so far denied any involvement. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Fuzi Harun, who was the Special Branch chief when the disappearances took place, remain tightlipped.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir had said any investigation on the Suhakam’s claims will only take place after Fuzi retires steps down next month.

Koh’s wife Liew at the press conference said she can only hope for Easter miracle to get her husband back, in a sign of growing weariness among family members.

Liew said she picked this Holy Saturday to meet CFM hoping it could spark divine intervention, Malaysiakini reported.

“I think this is an auspicious time, because we are celebrating Easter, and yesterday was Good Friday,” Malaysiakini quoted her as saying.

“We have hope, like we believe that Jesus Christ died but rose again on Easter Sunday...that whatever we have been through in the darkness will pass.”

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