HIV-positive man remembers how Pastor Koh helped him set up shelter

17th Nov 2019

PETALING JAYA: If it wasn’t for Pastor Raymond Koh (pic), Rumah Teduhan Harapan, a shelter for HIV-positive people, would not have existed.

Marhalem Mansor, who is HIV-positive himself, said he met Koh for the first time back in 2004.

He said his spirit was in the pits at the time, but Koh embraced him.

They made many trips together to Kuala Muda in Kedah to help victims of the Boxing Day Tsunami and had many lengthy conversations.

Marrhalem said he told Koh one day that he wanted to set up a shelter to help out those in the same predicament as him.

Koh not only encouraged him but helped to raise funds for the shelter, which was set up in 2014.

“He helped us literally from nothing … From 2014 until now, I think more than 100 people have passed through our home.

“He taught me about being a person who serves other people.

“For the past two years, things have not been the same for Rumah Teduhan Harapan because we have lost somebody so close to our heart,” he said during a dinner event on Saturday (Nov 16) to mark the 1,000 days since Koh was abducted.

“Until today, my youngest who is 10 years old will ask when uncle Raymond will come to our house again. We always talk about the good things that he had done for us. There is nothing in common between Raymond Koh and me and my family, but because of his humility and servanthood, he embraced us full heartedly,” he added.

Koh, who founded the NGO Harapan Komuniti, 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, which was done in “professional” style.

In April, The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) concluded in an inquiry that the Special Branch was behind the enforced disappearances of Raymond and Amri Che Mat.

Amri, who was the founder of the NGO Perlis Hope, left his home in Kangar at about 11.30pm on Nov 24, 2016, with his car found the nest day abandoned.

In June 2019, a taskforce was formed to look into their disappearances.

Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew however, was unhappy with the progress since.

She said that they were expecting updates from the taskforce but they were instead questioned on Sept 20 about Koh’s friends.

She added that in October, the taskforce asked for his bank statements and questioned her on movement of funds.

Liew believes that this had no bearing on the search for her missing husband and the taskforce should have focussed on his supposed enemies who sent him death threats in 2011 instead.

“After 1,000 days, what has the police to show for their investigations?” she asked, adding that there had been no new updates nor leads.

~The Star, Nation, Sunday, 17 Nov 2019, By RASHVINJEET S. BEDI