COMMENT The authorities owe the public an explanation why the abductors of Pastor Raymond Koh continue to elude them. Their continued silence would only embolden the abductors and or other criminal fringe elements.
Already in the absence of information,rumours over Koh’s disappearance have gone viral and this in turn may hamper investigations and heighten religious tensions.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) rightly points out in a statement released yesterday that religious leaders must be free from threats of violence and intimidation.
Koh, 62, is well known in Christian circles as a humble man of faith who acts out of his conscience and calling to render help to the poor, the marginalised and those living with HIV/Aids regardless of race or creed.
“We ask the authorities to conduct a quick and thorough investigation of this incident and bring to justice its perpetrators,” CFM said.
This immediately raises the question whether Koh’s abduction has a religious angle to it. If so then this becomes more than just a police case. The religious authorities parked under the Prime Minister’s Office and those under state authorities must assist the police.
In the wake of Koh’s abduction, both mainstream and social media have been awash in speculative reports. For instance, The Star as well as The Malay Mail Online claimed Koh courted controversy in 2011 after his NGO was accused by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) of allegedly proselytising Muslims following a raid on a thanksgiving and fund-raising dinner at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church.
Both reports failed to mention that Jais raided the church premises without search warrants and eventually Jais had to drop their suspicions against Koh or his NGO as they could not find any evidence.
Now that Jais has apparently been linked to Koh’s disappearance by both the mainstream and social media, rightly or otherwise, the onus is on the Selangor Islamic authorities to clarify the allegations. So too must other federal religious authorities. This is more so in the light of assurances by both PAS and Umno that the shariah/hudud bill before Parliament would not affect non-Muslims.