Hopes of fair probe by task force dashed, says wife of pastor Raymond Koh

11th Jul 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The wife of pastor Raymond Koh said despite changes in composition of the special task force (STF) to probe Suhakam’s finding that the Special Branch had a hand in the enforced disappearance of her husband and Perlis activist Amri Che Mat, she still has no confidence in it.

At the same time Susanna Koh today appealed to new inspector-general of police Hamid Bador to find her husband.

She said three of the STF members should not be there as it would result in a conflict of interest.

In a statement today, she said she was glad to note that a representative each of the Bar Council and the MACC had been appointed to the STF and that one of the panel members had withdrawn from it.

However, she said, it would have been better if home minister Muhyiddin Yassin had followed the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia’s (Suhakam) recommendation to appoint only those who did not have any conflict of interest.

Suhakam had also recommended that only “persons who have no current or past connections with current or past members of the religious authorities such as Jakim and Jais” be appointed.

Susanna said, therefore, the appointment of Muhammad Bukhari Ab Hamid, Jakim’s legal adviser in 2015, was in direct contradiction to Suhakam’s recommendation.

She said the appointment of Zamri Yahya was also cause for concern as he was the director of the police Integrity and Standards Department that was “supposed to prevent such abuse of power and the use of police personnel for criminal activity in pastor Raymond Koh and Amri’s case”.

Susanna said Zamry had done nothing to bring the culprits to justice although it was within his power to investigate.

“It is our view his failure to do so speaks volumes as to his appropriateness and suitability to be in the task force. The home minister could have appointed any other police officer who does not have any past or current connection with these cases in any way.”

She also took exception to the appointment of Rahim Uda, the judge who affirmed the coroner’s “open verdict” finding with regards to the death of Teoh Beng Hock, as the STF’s chairman.

Susanna noted that Mah Weng Kai, one of the Suhakam commissioners who found police complicity in the disappearance of her husband, had, sitting on the Court of Appeal previously, reversed Rahim’s decision and “went on to say that Teoh’s death should have been treated as a “custodial death”.

In September 2014, the Court of Appeal, in an unanimous decision, found that the death of Teoh, a DAP political aide, was caused by the act of “person or persons unknown”, including the MACC officers who had questioned him overnight before he was found dead.

Susanna expressed “grave concern that of all the ex-judges in our country who have a known and proven track record of independence and integrity”, Rahim had to be selected to sit on the STF. She went on to give some names of ex-judges.

“We do not understand why the home minister had to choose Datuk Rahim Uda to chair this task force when he has a history with the very same judge that reversed his decision on a case of such public interest that received wide publicity both nationally and internationally and may have impacted his career negatively.

“He is now required to look into the findings of Suhakam which was made by that very same judge, Mah Weng Kwai, together with two other commissioners.

“His appointment does not inspire confidence and dashes our hope for an independent, honest, unbiased, fair and transparent investigation by the task force.”

Susanna went on to say: “I am just a housewife and all I want is to find out where my husband is. I have taken my complaint to the government.”

She said it was government body Suhakam which held an inquiry and found that “the direct and circumstantial evidence in pastor Raymond Koh’s case proves, on a balance of probabilities, that he was abducted by state agents namely, the Special Branch, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur”.

“I hope that the current IGP Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador who is trying to clean up the police force, would also investigate this and tell me where my husband is.”

She hoped an experienced investigating officer would be appointed to re-investigate the case, just as Suhakam had recommended.

She also asked why the terms of reference of the STF have not been made public, asking: “We do not understand why it is secret.”