Politician allegedly told missing activist to leave country, Suhakam inquiry hears

  • Nation
  • Monday, 02 Mar 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: A politician had allegedly told missing activist Joshua Hilmy to "leave the country", a Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) inquiry heard on Monday (March 2).

Witness Selvakumar Peace John Harris claimed that Joshua told him this was related to his baptism of a Malay couple back in January 2015.

Selvakumar said that Joshua had in May 2016 showed him emails supposedly sent by the politician.

He said that Joshua told him over the phone in December 2015 about the politician.

Selvakumar's testimony elicited many questions from the inquiry panel.

When asked by the commissioners how he knew the emails were from the politician, Selvakumar said that one of the emails had an official email address.

"The rest of the emails used unofficial emails," he added.

He said the email threat was conveyed "in a friendly manner", but had ended in the politician telling Joshua to "leave the country".

One of the emails by the politician had also mentioned the couple, said Selvakumar.

Selvakumar also claimed that there were theological discussions in the email thread.

The Star has contacted the politician's aides for a response on the matter.

Selvakumar also said that Joshua told him that he needed to vacate the house as the authorities were on to him.

Selvakumar, who is the fifth witness in the inquiry, said that he had witnessed for himself the baptism of the Malay couple in the bathroom of his house in Kampung Tunku, Petaling Jaya on Jan 1,2015.

He added that Joshua had uploaded pictures of this baptism onto his personal Facebook account. He said that Joshua often posted pictures of other people he had baptised on his account as well.

Selvakumar was the owner of the house where Joshua and his wife Ruth Sitepu were staying.

Selvakumar said that he had allowed Joshua and Ruth to live in his house rent-free since December 2014, which was vacant at the time, because of Joshua's ability to "teach people" about Jesus.

Selvakumar said he had met Joshua and Ruth about one month before that at the St Mark's Church in Butterworth, Penang.

Selvakumar said he last met Joshua in September 2016.

Joshua, who is from Taiping, was a Muslim before converting to Christianity.

The panel of inquiry is chaired by commissioner Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Yunus and assisted by commissioners Jerald Joseph and Dr Madeline Berma.

The hearings commenced from Feb 18 at Suhakam headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

Suhakam initiated investigations in connection with the disappearances under Section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act.

Ruth, who is an Indonesian, was reported missing along with Hilmy back in November 2016. Both of them were married in 2004.

In April of last year, Suhakam concluded in their inquiries that Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat were victims of "enforced disappearance by state agents".

In announcing the findings of the public inquiry on April 3, Suhakam had said that there was "direct and circumstantial evidence which proves, on balance of probabilities, that he was abducted by state agents, by Special Branch, Bukit Aman".

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Joshua Hilmy , Suhakam , Ruth Sitepu


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