Malaysia to launch public inquiry on Pastor Raymond Koh and other missing persons

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) announced on Oct. 5 that it will launch a 10-day public inquiry into the cases of several missing people, which includes Pastor Raymond Koh, who was abducted in a coordinated fashion on Feb. 13 in Petaling Jaya.

(REUTERS / Edgar Su)Malaysia's police chief Khalid Abu Bakar addresses a news conference in Kuala Lumpur March 11, 2014.

On Oct. 19, Suhakam will conduct a three-day public inquiry into the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh, Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife Ruth Sitepu, and social activist Amri Che Mat. Another seven days of inquiry will also take place in November, The Star detailed.

"To date, Suhakam has recorded 35 statements from witnesses for all cases and the inquiry process is meant to answer questions, and to shine a light on the situation," Suhakam said in a statement on Thursday.

Datuk Mah Weng Kwai will stand as the chairman of the panel of commissioners for the public inquiry. The other members of the panel are Prof. Datuk Dr. Aishah Bidin and Dr. Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh.

Based on CCTV footage, Pastor Koh was running an errand in February when he was abducted in broad daylight by at least 15 men aboard three black SUVs and two cars. The reason for the abduction still has not been determined, as the pastor had spent the last 10 years helping single mothers, HIV patients, and drug addicts, The Straits Times reported.

Reacting to news on the upcoming inquiry, a representative from the Koh family expressed hope that they will finally receive answers regarding the disappearance of the pastor. They are also hoping that the Suhakam will tap former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar as a witness in the inquiry and that the person who replaced him will cooperate with the investigation.

The public inquiry aims to determine if the cases were forced disappearances or involuntary disappearances. Should the investigation find that it was either of the two, it will determine the reason for the breach and find out who are responsible.