Missing pastor aware he was a ‘marked man’, friend tells Suhakam inquiry

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is holding an inquiry into the disappearance of pastor Rayond Koh (pictured) and three other persons. — Picture courtesy of Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 ― Missing pastor Raymond Koh knew he was a “marked man”, his friend G. Sri Ram told the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) public inquiry today.

The 57 year-old recalled the last meeting he had with Koh on January 8 where his friend and fellow director at Harapan Komuniti complained that he was getting “stressed out” over harassment by right-wing Islamists and the “Special Branch” of the police force.

“He complained to me that he was stressed (from harassment). I told him he was a marked man since the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) raid in 2011. He agreed with me and mentioned that he was being harassed by the Special Branch,” said Sri Ram.

When asked to elaborate on why he thought Koh was a “marked man” by the three member panel chaired by Suhakam commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, Sri Ram said that Koh has received threats, two live bullets in his mail box and that his photograph was plastered in hardline Islamist blogs.

“The website highlighted that these people (Koh, his wife Susanna Liew and DUMC senior pastor Daniel Ho) were dangerous and involved in proselytising work among Muslims. Ibrahim Ali’s brother, Hasan Ali was also sharing the Jais raid video online,” said Sri Ram.

Yesterday, Liew also told the inquiry that between October 2011 and 2012, her husband was temporarily denied entry by the Immigration Department for nine times whenever he was returning from an overseas trip.

Apparently, his passport has been flagged and the Immigration officers would delay his entry until Special Branch officers have questioned him. Liew herself experienced the same situation seven times.

Sri Ram also told the panel that he believed the police were behind Koh’s abduction.

“ASP Supari kept asking me the same questions in a variety of ways. In response, I said that it seemed as if he was trying to obtain evidence against Raymond, which I found very strange as he did not appear to be focussing on investigating the recent abduction. I was not questioned about the abduction at all. I was only asked when I last saw Raymond.

“At one point I stated that from the line of questioning, it seemed as though the police were not investigating Raymond’s abduction. In response, ASP Supari asked me: “Who do you think kidnapped Raymond?”

“I replied: “The police.” ASP Supari did not say anything in reply to this statement,” Sri Ram said referring to the time when his statement was taken by the police in February.

A short while later, one of the two police observers stood up and objected to Sri Ram’s statement, saying it was a “serious allegation against the police department” and wanted it to be deleted from his witness statement.

Mah however overruled the objection pointing out that Sri Ram was answering a question posed by the investigating officer ASP Supari.

“This is a statement by the witness. That is his answer. Why are you stopping him from saying what he said? Let Supari come and answer. Why did he ask the question in the first place? If you asked a question, be prepared for the answer or you will hear my answer.

“Unless of course, you want to challenge Sri Ram, saying that he never said that statement to the police and that he (Sri Ram) is embellishing his statement,” Mah said.