LIVE: Suhakam inquiry into missing Pastor Koh, 3 others begins today

19th Oct 2017

THE public inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) begins today to seek answers into the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh and three other activists.

The main aim of the inquiry is to determine if these are cases of enforced disappearance, a term which describes abductions involving the authorities.

The inquiry will be chaired by Suhakam commissioners Mah Weng Kwai, Aishah Bidin and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh.

More than 15 people have been subpoenaed to attend the inquiry and, to date, the commission has interviewed 35 people, including family members of the missing four, police and interested parties.

Among those subpoenaed to attend the inquiry is former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar.

Authorities have given little away on their investigations into the disappearance of the four.

Koh, 62, was reported as being abducted by a group of men in a convoy on February 13, while 44-year-old Amri Che Mat has been reported missing since last year.

Joshua Hilmy and his wife, Ruth Hilmy, were last seen by friends in November last year before disappearing without a trace.

Lawyers representing Koh’s family, the Bar Council and the police would also be at the inquiry as observers.

Suhakam has also designated two assistant officers from the commission to question witnesses during the inquiry.

The inquiry is being held at the human rights body’s headquarters at Menara TH in Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian Insight brings you live updates from the inquiry:

12.40pm: The public inquiry ends and will resume tomorrow morning with Pastor Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew, called as the first witness.

12.05pm: Lawyers for the Koh family asked Gomez if any unusual event had occurred since the abduction incident.

Gomez said his car was broken into a few days before the line-up parade on July 7.

“I went for dinner in Kota Damansara and parked near a restaurant.

“I then left the place and I noticed that the my laptop bag was missing and the rear left window was smashed.

“There was no laptop in the bag just my personal documents that have gone missing.”

Gomez then told the panel that a few weeks later, the bag was returned to his home.

“I got back home after work at 8.30pm and found the bag lodged at my house gate.

“I checked the bag and found that all the contents were still there expect for a file folder that holds my documents.

“The documents that was in the bag was photocopy of my identification card and a statement I have prepared for Suhakam.”

11.10am: Commissioner Mah announces a 10-minute break.

10.55am: Gomez then said he was called by police on February 16 to the Petaling Jaya police headquarters to assist in a photofit of the Indian suspect.

“Since them, there was no contact from the police. On July 7, I was called by the police who said that they had a suspect and asked me to come to identify the person at a police line-up. I went to the station with my lawyer.

“There were three sets of line-up consisting two Malay groups and one Indian group.  

“I told the police that I couldn’t identify anyone. The police then ask me to sign a statement that I couldn’t identify anyone.”

After the line-up, Gomez said his lawyer asked the police why was he called.

“They said they had conducted a operation in Kedah were they got a suspect. They also said that they found Pastor Koh’s number plates.”

10.45am: Suhakam officers ask Gomez if he lodged a police report over the incident.

Gomez said he lodged a police report at the Kelana Jaya police station at 11.30am.

“They took my statements and asked if I saw the number plates. I said no.

“After I described the situation to the investigating officer Ali (Kelana Jaya police station investigating officer Inspector Ali Asra), he said this could be similar to how a police operation is conducted.”

10.20am: Suhakam shows three CCTV clips of the alleged Pastor Koh abduction on February 13.

The panel asks Gomez about the footage and he confirms that it was the same SUVs and men that he and a friend saw during the incident.

Mah asked Gomez he if could recall any of the number plates, to which he said no.

9.55am: Commissioner Mah calls first witness Roeshan Gomez to give his account of what had transpired on February 13.

Gomez said he was on his way to a crematorium after a funeral with a friend when he saw the incident.

“I was driving to the crematorium when I saw a silver (Proton) Waja in front of me. Then I saw five to six men in four SUVs. Then I saw two people struggling in a car. One was trying to pull the other person out.

“My friend who was with me tried to shoot a video but we were blocked by an Indian man who stood in front of our car. We then reversed… and left the scene.” 

When the panel asked if he saw the face of the person in the car who was being pulled, Gomez said he couldn’t identify the man.

9.45am: Lawyers Ambiga Sreenevasan and Gurdial Singh Nijar are among the 12 lawyers who are observers for Pastor Koh’s family. There’s is also one observer from the Malaysian Bar and observers for the police failed to show up because of a date mix-up.

9.30am: Suhakam commissioner Mah Weng Kwai, who is chairing the inquiry, introduces panel members – commissioner Dr Aishah Bidin and commissioner Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh

9:20am: More than 30 people comprising Koh’s family members, lawyers, members of the media and the public and independent observers begin filling up the auditorium where the public inquiry will be held. – October 19, 2017.

Source from The Malaysian Insight   [The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, October 19, 2017.]