Susanna Liew recognised for courage in prestigious US award

4th Mar 2020

PETALING JAYA: Susanna Liew, the wife of Pastor Raymond Koh who was abducted in broad daylight three years ago, has been named as one of 12 recipients of the US’ International Women of Courage (Iwoc) awards.

A statement by the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur said since her husband’s abduction, Liew had fought on behalf of members of religious minorities who had disappeared in Malaysia under similar circumstances, including Perlis activist Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu.

It added that she had actively pursued justice for her husband and others during Suhakam’s year-long inquiry into enforced disappearances.

“(She) continues to push the government to investigate these cases and prosecute those responsible.

“Despite police harassment and death threats, she continues to advocate for her husband and others, not because of her faith or theirs, but because of their rights as Malaysians,” it said.

Koh was declared a victim of enforced disappearance in April last year, with Suhakam pointing the finger at the police Special Branch.

Last month, Liew announced that she was suing former inspector-generals of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun and Khalid Abu Bakar. She also named the current top cop, Abdul Hamid Bador, the police and the federal government among others in her writ of summons.

She said she was filing the civil suit for “special and general damages” as a last resort after failing to receive any resolution from the investigations into her husband’s disappearance.

Amri’s wife, Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, filed a similar suit in November 2019. She is also suing former home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The award ceremony will be hosted by US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo at the US Department of State. First Lady Melania Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech in recognition of the women’s achievements.

Following the ceremony, the 12 awardees will participate in an International Visitor Leadership Programme, visiting various cities throughout the country before reconvening in Los Angeles for the conclusion of their programme on March 16.