KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has clarified that it ceased the inquiry into the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh as law requires it, and not because it "caved in to the police".
Its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said it was untrue that Suhakam ceased the inquiry because it had to obey the police or because of an injunction by the authorities.
"We have to respect the law. We will proceed with the other inquiries. The panel has not caved in to the police," he said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Suhakam commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, who was leading the inquiry, cited Section 12(3) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act which states that it should "immediately cease" an inquiry if the allegation becomes the subject matter of any court proceeding.
Suhakam had received a letter from Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun at 3pm on Monday (Jan 15), informing them that a suspect had been charged in court in relation to the case.
Part-time driver Lam Chang Nam, who claimed trial to extorting Koh's son last year, was charged on Monday (Jan 15) with kidnapping or abduction.
In March 2017, Lam was charged with extorting RM30,000 from Jonathan Koh Szu Hao, 33, for the release of his father.
Lam, 31, allegedly committed the offence at Paradigm Mall in Kelana Jaya at 9.46pm on March 6.
Razali said Suhakam would want to play a very "constructive" role in the trial, adding that the commission would do whatever was required and within legal boundaries.
"Because this is a matter of huge public interest. Because the family has come to talk to us for all these months. We really must understand their concerns and more importantly, the public's concerns and the various implications. In no way will Suhakam pull back from this investigation," he added.
The inquiry is being held under Section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act in connection with the disappearances of Koh, social activist Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife, Ruth Sitepu.
The inquiry into the other disappearances would go on as scheduled.
Koh, 62, was abducted by a group of men along Jalan SS4B/10 in Petaling Jaya on Feb 13, 2017 while on his way to a friend's house.
CCTV footage, believed to be of the incident, showed at least 15 men and three black SUVs involved in the abduction.
Koh's silver-coloured car bearing the number plate ST5515D has not been found.