Officer: ‘Powers that be’ unhappy Muslims attended pastor Koh vigils

13th Nov 2017

Testifying before the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) public inquiry into Koh’s disappearance today, Supari Mohammad also agreed that news of Muslim youths being converted to other religions would upset certain quarters.

Asked by one of the lawyers representing Koh’s family whether he believes that there were “powers out there” who wanted to change public sentiment, Supari said that it was possible.

The officer was earlier asked whether the police announcement on the investigation into Koh’s alleged proselytisation, as well as into proselytisation activities in Kangar, Perlis and Johor, were made to convince the public that the abduction was justified, “at least from the perspective of moderate Muslims.”

Supari also conceded that this was a possibility.

Former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar claimed in the wake of the abduction that police had received reports of Koh allegedly conducting evangelical activities to Muslim youths in Kangar.

However, Supari admitted today that the teenagers in question did not lodge any report, but only provided statements to the police.

“It was an NGO who lodged the report,” he explained.

Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew, had previously told the inquiry that her husband had given specific instructions to volunteers at his charity Harapan Komuniti not to proselytise.

She said Koh had largely left his pastoral work when he founded the nonprofit Harapan Komuniti in 2004, although he was still referred to as a pastor and conducted sermons at various churches.

Koh was abducted in Petaling Jaya on Feb 13. The other individuals who are the subjects of the Suhakam inquiry are activist Amri Chemat, pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Hilmy.

Koh’s abduction is said to be linked to his alleged proselytising of Muslims, for which he was said to have received death threats.

The lawyer representing Koh’s family later also cited controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik, and told Supari how Malay right-wing group Perkasa was protecting him.

Supari confirmed that Perkasa has yet to be investigated, but agreed that Perkasa was relevant to the case.

When asked whether there was a possibility that Koh’s abduction had anything to do with the Special Branch, however, he replied in the negative, adding that he was unsure if there is a rogue unit in the police force whose members subscribe to extremist ideology, or one that conducts classified operations.

“You can ask the Special Branch itself, the director in particular. The current SB chief is (Mohd) Mokhtar (Mohd Shariff).

The current inspector-general of police, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, headed the Special Branch at the time of Koh’s abduction.

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