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‘Missing pastor was harassed by Special Branch for years’

October 20, 2017 10:34 AM
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Pastor's friend G Sri Ram says Raymond Koh had been threatened by calls, over the internet and even received a Bank Negara notice demanding details of his donors and expenditure.

KUALA LUMPUR: The director of Harapan Komuniti, a charity that collaborated with missing pastor Raymond Koh, claimed today Koh had been harassed by the police Special Branch for years.

“I was his good friend and I saw how he was being harassed and the pressure he faced from them,” G Sri Ram said on the second day of the public inquiry into the disappearance of Koh held by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

Sri Ram, who knew Koh since 1977, said the pastor complained about the harassment by the Special Branch the last time they met.

“I told him he was a marked man since 2011, which he agreed. He had been threatened by calls, over the internet and even received a Bank Negara notice demanding complete details of all donors and expenditures which all seemed suspect.

Harapan Komuniti does charitable work with marginalised groups, single mothers, drug addicts, sex workers and people suffering from HIV/Aids.

Sri Ram’s mention of 2011 referred to the raid in August that year by the Selangor Religious Islamic Department at a dinner held at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church which involved Koh.

The public inquiry into Koh’s disappearance is chaired by Mah Weng Kwai and includes a panel consisting of Suhakam commissioners Prof Dr Aishah Bidin from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Salleh from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

Koh, 62, was abducted from his car by a group of more than 10 men in a convoy of vehicles at Jalan Persiaran Tropicana in Petaling Jaya on Feb 13.

There was speculation that Koh’s abduction was connected to his alleged attempts to proselytise Christianity, but this claim was dismissed by his family.

Sri Ram said that after Koh’s abduction, he was questioned by an ASP Supari.

“The questioning irked me because it was going in circles focusing on Raymond’s charitable work and allegations of proselytising Muslims.

“Supari later asked me who I thought kidnapped Koh, and I answered that the police kidnapped him.

“I explained that I thought so because since the 2011 incident, Raymond was harassed by the police especially the Special Branch.”

At this juncture, one of the police observers stood and asked for Sri Ram’s allegation against the police to be struck off the record.

“This is a serious allegation against the police and I ask the witness to delete his statement,” the police observer said.

“This is the statement from the witness, why stop him? Let Supari come here and answer this, why ask the question in the first place?

“You ask the question you should be prepared for the answer. You can’t stop him from saying it unless you want to challenge that he never said it to the cops,” said Mah.

The police observer then said he would inform Supari about the matter and sat down.

The Suhakam inquiry will also consider whether Koh’s disappearance and three other missing persons — Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth — were cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances as defined under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Social activist Amri, 44, who co-founded charity organisation Perlis Hope, has been missing since Nov 24 last year.

His wife, Norhayati Ariffin, had said witnesses saw five vehicles blocking the path of Amri’s car before he was taken away just 550 metres from their home in Bukit Chabang, Perlis.

Joshua and his wife Ruth, meanwhile, were last seen on Nov 30 last year.


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