Arrest of suspect in pastor’s abduction raises more questions than answers 

Noel Achariam

Wife of missing Pastor Raymund Koh, Susanna Liew speaks about her husband’s abduction in an interview. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, May 24, 2017.

THE announcement today that police have in custody a suspect linked to the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh has raised more questions than answers, the pastor’s family said.

Chief among them are: Why wasn’t the family informed earlier? Who is the suspect?

Earlier today, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar announced that police was investigating the pastor’s disappearance and had arrested a suspect from a northern state last week.

The IGP’s announcement today came after pressure from civil society coalition, Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance (Caged) and Koh’s family who had sought the help of international organisations to pressure Putrajaya into revealing the progress of police’s investigations.

A spokesman for Koh’s family told The Malaysian Insight that they would not comment until they get more substantial information from police 

The spokesman said that the family were not informed of the arrest which allegedly took place last week.

“Like the Malaysian public, this is the first time they have heard about it. It is unusual that there was no announcement of this at the time of the suspect’s arrest last week,” the spokesman said.

While announcing that a suspect had been arrested in connection with Koh’s disappearance, Khalid had reiterated that police were also investigating whether Koh had been converting Muslims.

“We have to investigate. Not just the abduction but also the report that he (Koh) was converting Muslims,” the IGP said without elaborating.

Police today also called up three activists for questioning about their statements referring to the missing Koh and three more Malaysians as “enforced disappearances”.

Thomas Fann of Engage, Sevan Doraisamy of Suaram and Rama Ramanathan of Bersih 2.0 were also grilled on possible foreign interference in the establishment of Caged, which purpose is to find answers to the disappearance of the four Malaysians.

Thomas, Sevan and Rama are members of Caged. 

Khalid said the public should not make wild accusations that the authorities had a hand in Koh’s disappearance without any evidence.

“Do not make such accusations without evidence. If you have any, come forward and give it to us.”

Koh was abducted while driving in Petaling Jaya on February 13 by 15 men in three black SUVs. The kidnapping, which took place in broad daylight, appeared to have been well coordinated.

Joshua Hilmy, a pastor of Malay descent, and his wife Ruth, went missing on November 30 last year while Amir Che Mat went missing on the night of November 24 last year after he told his eldest daughter that he was going out. – May 24, 2017.

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