Pastor’s wife recounts incidents before hubby’s disappearance to Suhakam inquiry

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 21 Oct 2017

missing person Pastor Pastor KohPLS CONFIRM THE NAME

KUALA LUMPUR: Pastor Ray­mond Koh (pic) and his family were threatened and harassed following a fund-raising dinner for his non-profit organisation that was raided by the Selangor Islamic Religious Depart­ment in August 2011, a public inquiry heard.

His wife Susanna Liew, 61, said that right-wing radical groups, politicians and bloggers had targeted their family, Harapan Komuniti and leaders of the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (in Petaling Jaya) where the dinner was held.

Koh had also received an anonymous letter written in red ink and containing two bullets on Aug 26, 2011, she added.

Liew also claimed that both she and her husband had been harassed several times for almost a year at immigration checkpoints whenever they returned to Malaysia from Singapore.

She said that most of the time, they were held back for a few minutes although there was once they were questioned for almost an hour.

She recalled a November 2011 incident when they arrived from New Zealand with their daughter.

“Several men had been taking photos and videos of us at the airport,” she said when giving her statement at a public inquiry by the Human Rights Com­mission of Malaysia (Suhakam) into the disappearance of four people, including Koh.

Liew claimed that her husband didn’t allow the preaching of religion among the marginalised communities he was helping.

“He told volunteers of the social work he was involved in not to talk about religion.”

Koh founded Harapan Komuniti in 2004, a NGO that undertakes social and charity work among underprivileged communities.

Among others, it runs a reading room in Petaling Jaya and a prison programme with the Prisons Department, and works with people living with HIV/AIDS, recovering drug addicts, single mothers and their children.

Liew said through Harapan, Koh provided assistance to the poor, regardless of their background and religion.

“Harapan Komuniti is not linked to any religion. It is not a Christian entity,” she said, adding however that she could not discount the possibility that Koh’s abduction was linked to his involvement with the organisation.

Another director of Harapan Komu­niti, G. Sri Ram, told the inquiry that Koh had expressed during their last meeting in January that he was stressed over the harassment by the Special Branch.

Koh, 62, was abducted from his car by a group of men along Jalan SS4B/10 in Petaling Jaya on Feb 13 while on his way to a friend’s house.

The public inquiry, chaired by Suhakam commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, is held under Section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission Malaysia Act in connection with the disappearance of Pastor Koh, social activist Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife Ruth Sitepu.

The inquiry resumes on Oct 30.

Koh’s silver-coloured car bearing the number plate ST5515D has not been found.

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