Suhakam inquiry zooms in on investigation diary

2nd Nov 2017

After hearing a testimony from Inspector Ali Asrar, the first police officer to probe Koh’s alleged abduction, panel chairperson Mah Weng Kwai requested for his investigation diary to be handed over to the panel.

“We should be allowed to look at the ID because we want to check the dates stated by Ali.

“It is to corroborate the statements he made,” said Mah in reference to incidents which occurred on Feb 13, the date when Koh was allegedly abducted from his car by a group of masked men along Jalan SS4B/10 in Petaling Jaya.

Police observers present had initially objected to Mah’s request and insisted that an officer’s investigation diary is a classified document.

They also requested for the hearing to be adjourned so Mah’s request for Ali’s investigation diary could be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Mah, however, pointed out that if each time the panel was denied evidence on the grounds that investigations are still ongoing, then it might as well “pack up and leave”.

“I don’t think we will postpone or stand down. This is quite a straightforward matter.

“A ruling has been made,” he said at around 11am, before the hearing adjourned for a 10-minute break.

In making the request, Mah earlier noted that he saw Ali flipping through pages of a document which helped to refresh his memory.

Even in an ordinary court proceeding, Mah said parties involved could request for documents referred to under the Evidence Act, as a way to test the veracity of statements made.

Ali, in his testimony, related his role as the first investigating officer tasked to probe a report lodged by Roeshan Celestine Gomez on Feb 13, as a witness of Koh’s alleged abduction.

Among others, the hearing focused on Ali’s role as a preliminary investigations officer, until around 4pm the same day when he told the panel that he handed over his duties to an ASP Supari Muhammad, identified as a superior from the Petaling Jaya IPD’s CID unit.

He also confirmed that he was instructed by ASP Supari to further assist in the investigations by recording statements from Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew (photo), from about 10pm on Feb 13 to 3am the next day.

At the end of the morning session, police observers once again attempted to request for details from Ali’s investigation diary to be omitted from the inquiry’s report, as well as media reports.

Mah, however, rejected the request and pointed out that nothing which has been revealed so far was particularly “groundbreaking”.

As the hearing resumed at 2.30pm, lawyer Gurdial Singh Nijhar raised further concerns over the contents of the diary which he claimed appeared to be in “perfect sequential order” in comparison to Ali’s oral testimony.

He also sought a reassurance from the panel that they would keep an open mind and not draw any conclusions.

Before proceeding to call Supari as the hearing’s seventh witness, Mah said his initial request was only made to verify Ali’s oral testimony and the diary was not marked as part of the inquiry’s evidence.

Following the concerns raised, Mah ruled that counsels for Koh’s family and observers from the Bar Council should make a written submission to request for the investigation diary.

The Suhakam inquiry is investigating the disappearances of Koh, activist Amri Chemat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Hilmy, and whether these are cases of enforced disappearances as defined by the International Convention for Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances (ICPPED).

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