After 18 months of investigations, a three-member panel of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (known as Suhakam) has concluded that the country’s Special Branch, the police intelligence unit, had carried out the enforced disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh on 13 February 2017 and Shia Muslim activist Amri Che Mat on 24 November 2016.
According to international human rights law, an enforced disappearance is a secret abduction or imprisonment that is authorised, supported or agreed to by the state, that is then not acknowledged in order to put the victim outside legal protection.
Pastor Koh’s abduction took place in broad daylight and not far from his home. It was caught on CCTV and revealed the same modus operandi as Amri’s abduction, as both their vehicles were boxed in by three other cars and had their windows smashed. The same model of a gold car was present at both abductions.
Both Pastor Koh and Amri were known for their work among the poor and underprivileged, as were two other Christians, Joshua Hilmy, a Malaysian and Muslim convert, and his wife Ruth Sitepu, an Indonesian. They also mysteriously disappeared, six days after Amri in 2016.
Suhakam’s call for the government to reinvestigate the disappearances of Pastor Koh and Amri has been backed by Christian leaders, lawmakers and the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF). Lawmaker Charles Santiago described Suhakam’s findings as “chilling” and said, “These kidnappings have raised fears of religious vigilantism in the country.”
The NECF called for the government to investigate the “heinous injustice” and the flouting of the rule of law by the police.
Susanna Liew, Pastor Koh’s wife, said of Suhakam’s conclusions, “We would like to see the perpetrators, the ones responsible and involved in this, to be brought to book. We want to see justice and we want the truth to be revealed. We still don’t know what happened to our husbands.”
Speaking for Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, Amri’s wife, as well, Liew added that unless the government acts on Suhakam’s findings within six months, the two families will consider legal action.
While Islam is Malaysia’s official religion and some 61 percent of the population are Muslim, other faiths may be practised in “peace and harmony.”
However, attempting to convert a Malay from Islam is a serious criminal offence with punishment comprising a maximum of six lashes with a rattan cane, up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to US$3,000.
The Malaysian Constitution states that a Malay in Malaysia must be a Muslim and no Malay may convert to another religion.
Home Group Prayer
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him,” Daniel 2:20–22 NKJV.
We come before you as your children, united in prayer for the situation of the enforced disappearances in Malaysia which have just been brought to light.
We pray, LORD, for justice to be seen and done in the cases of Pastor Raymond Koh, Amri Che Mat and Joshua and Ruth Hilmy, who have all disappeared at the hands of Malaysian authorities.
We pray also, LORD, for healing for the families of those who have disappeared.
Father, we saw your hand upon Malaysia last May when you changed the government. We still see your hand upon Malaysia today, as you continue to expose injustices and the works of iniquity which have been done in secret against the peoples of the land, by their own elected officials.
We pray, Father, that as you expose these secret things and bring your healing light to the darkness in Malaysia, many will come to faith in the Lord Jesus and Malaysia will transform from a goat nation to a sheep nation.
We pray for the peoples of Malaysia, especially the constitutional monarchy and elected officials, that they will all align themselves with your will in all their decision-making.
We pray, Father, for peace, forgiveness and understanding to be poured into the hearts of all Malaysians, as they continue to come to terms with the revelations which you are bringing out of the secret places and into the light.
Thank you, Father, for the work you are doing in Malaysia.
In the mighty name of Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Materials used by kind permission of the original author.