Day 5 of Suhakam inquiry: No leads following pastor’s police report, says officer

3rd Nov 2017

Assistant Commissioner Supari Muhammad, who is the fifth witness, told the inquiry yesterday that Koh’s family did not cooperate in police investigations into his disappearance.

He said Koh’s family members were not helpful and that they did not want to answer questions on allegations that the missing pastor had been proselytising, and what other activities he was involved in before he disappeared.

Supari told the inquiry that he had asked the question on proselytising because he wanted to narrow down their investigations, adding that police are looking at the case from all angles.

The inquiry is seeking to determine if the cases of Koh, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife, Ruth, and social activist Amri Che Mat, are cases of enforced disappearance with the involvement of the authorities.

Another witness who testified yesterday was Inspector Ali Asrar, the fourth witness, who had initially refused to hand over the Investigation Diary on Koh’s case to the panel.

He said police would have to get approval from the Attorney-General’s Chambers before handing over the diary.

Suhakam commissioner Mah Weng Kwai refused to accept that explanation and said if police were going to use the excuse that such material was classified every time the panel asked for evidence, the inquiry “might as well pack up and leave”.

Mah then instructed the inquiry’s officers to retrieve the diary from Ali, who then handed it over.

The inquiry is chaired by Mah. The other commissioners on the panel are Aishah Bidin and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh.

The Malaysian Insight brings you live updates from today’s proceedings:

4.35pm: Mah asked to look at the houses where the CCTV was located to gauge the distance.

He visited houses No. 72 and No. 19 to see where the CCTV was positioned.

Mah then viewed the CCTV footage on a mobile phone.

He informed those present that the inquiry would resume on November 13.

4.20pm: Koh’s daughter, Ester, showed the panel members and lawyers the location of the CCTV that had captured the pastor’s abduction.

Supari showed where glass shards were seen, and pointed out where they had found broken number plates.

Mah asked where the car was boxed in during the abduction, to which Supari pointed to an area opposite one of the homes where the CCTV is located.

4.10pm: More than 20 people, comprising the commissioners, lawyers, members of the media and Koh’s family members, arrive at the scene of the abduction.

Police personnel have been dispatched to monitor traffic in the area.

Vehicles on the road are seen slowing down as motorists try to see what is going on.

3.15pm: The lawyers ask Supari what was he doing up north in April.

Supari said he went to Perlis to investigate if Koh was proselytising.

“I can’t remember when I went. There was reports made by youths that Koh was trying to baptise them.”

Koh’s family’s lawyers then asked if it was strange that the reports were lodged months after Koh went missing.

Supari agreed that it was strange that the youths in question lodged the reports after Koh’s disappearance.

2.45pm: The lawyers ask Supari if he questioned the children of Harapan Komuniti on whether Koh was proselytising to them.

Supari said it was one of the questions asked by the officers.

“I don’t conduct the interviews. My officers did,” he said.

Lawyers also asked if the focus of the investigation was on proselytising.

Supari agreed and said that it was one of the areas of focus.

2.30pm: The lawyers ask Supari if he knows about the police report that Koh lodged after a letter and two bullets were mailed to him in 2011 after the DUMC incident.

The lawyers said that in the report, the pastor stated that he feared for his safety.

Supari said he had seen the report.

“We investigated the report but we had no leads,” he said.

The lawyers then asked Supari who were the people that were threatening Koh.

Supari said it was Muslims who were not happy with Koh’s conduct.

12.45pm: The inquiry breaks for Friday prayers and will resume at 2.15pm.

12.20pm: Lawyers ask Supari if the abduction was done professionally and why some of the people involved were not wearing masks.

Supari replied said if it was a police operation, it would have been better planned.

“Police would not endanger the public by doing an operation on a busy road. We have to take into account public safety,” he said.

He did not answer the question on masks.

12.05pm: Koh’s family’s lawyers ask Supari how many CCTV recordings are in possession of the police, to which he replied four.

The lawyers asked why he did not obtain all the CCTV recordings.

Supari replied that he is not “Superman” and he cannot do everything.

“I also have to rely on my task force to gather evidence,” he said.

The lawyers said the four recordings are a crucial piece of evidence and asked if he can provide them to the inquiry, to which he replied no.

11.45am: Koh’s family’s lawyers ask Supari that out of five cameras along the route taken by Koh on the day he was abducted, how many had Supari seen the footage of.

Supari said he only saw the footage from one camera.

The lawyers then asked why he did not view footage from the rest of the CCTV cameras, to which he replied his task force was in charge.

“I did see the footage from one camera, but we did not find anything unusual. There was also a traffic jam and (the video) was blurry,” Supari said.

11.30am: Koh’s family’s lawyers ask Supari whether he knows that there are CCTV cameras along the route Koh took from his house in Prima 16 to Puncak Damansara and then to Jalan SS4B/10 where he was abducted.

Supari agreed that there are cameras along the route.

The lawyers then asked if Supari received the CCTV recordings, to which he replied that he did.

Supari said he cannot show the recordings to the panel (as the case is under investigation).

“I have viewed the footage and it is not clear,” he said.

Lawyers said there was no point to the inquiry if police were not willing to produce the evidence.

11.15am: Koh’s family’s lawyers ask Supari why police did not secure CCTV footage recorded at the crime scene as primary evidence.

Supari said police officers had gone to the scene but only found dummy cameras.

“I instructed the officers to go to the scene. There were cameras but the owners were not in. On February 15, I was informed that there were CCTV recordings.”

11.05am: The inquiry takes a 10-minute break.

10.45am: Koh’s family’s lawyers who requested for the sketch and videos say police are being uncooperative.

Police observers said it is not that they are unwilling to cooperate, but they are bound by the fact the documents are classified.

10.30am: Lawyers of Koh’s family once again ask Supari if they could see the sketch plans and pictures of the crime scene. He replies they would need consent from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Police observers told the panel to send an official request to the Attorney-General’s Chambers in order to have a look at the evidence.

Commisoner Mah said the panel cannot make the request but Suhakam officers can.

“The inquiry is held to find answers. I thought the police would have sought the AGC before coming here,” he said.

Mah then said the panel, the witness and lawyers will visit the crime scene at SS4B/10 after Friday prayers today.

9.45am: The inquiry relieves Teh and calls Assistant Commissioner Supari Mohammad to take the witness stand.

9.30am: Teh tells the inquiry that the Honda Accord was on loan to Koh since 2008.

“As part of our corporate social responsibility we loaned the car to Koh.

“We have a number of cars on loan to other organisations,” said Teh, adding that he had known Koh since the 1980s.

Suhakam officers asked Teh when was the last time they met, to which he said he can’t remember.

9.10am: Day five of the public inquiry calls business owner Albert Teh Chuan Seng, the owner of the car that Pastor Raymond Koh was driving when he went missing.

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