Enforced disappearances: Time for Harapan to take action

Ronnie Liu

Modified 3 Apr 2019, 4:34 am

ADUN SPEAKS | All eyes are on the mysterious disappearance of four individuals, since the CCTV footage of the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh on Feb 13, 2017 went viral.

The news of their disappearance has flashed across the world, putting Malaysia and the Pakatan Harapan government under the spotlight.

This necessitates the setting up of a new and independent investigation into the three cases involving Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo, social activist Amri Che Mat, and husband-and-wife couple, Joshua Hilmy and Ruth Sitepu.

The families of these missing persons have recently submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, urging him to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice.

So far, there has been no response from the Prime Minister’s Department. This does not go well with the government of New Malaysia, which seeks to project itself as a people-friendly government.

I laud our government’s belief in the rule of law. Therefore, if a person has committed an offence, he should be charged in court, instead of being whipped away in broad daylight, leaving behind only unanswered questions.

By rule of law, a person is presumably innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. Therefore, without going through the court process, no one can for now assume that Koh was proselytising to Muslims.

The man himself is unable to speak up; therefore, it is unfair to hurl all sorts of allegations against him.

Timely action

Now that the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) panel has concluded the inquiry, there is no better time for the Harapan government to take the necessary action to resolve this issue – and ensure that such incidents do not happen again.

In the case of Amri, Suhakam has concluded that he was abducted by state agencies.

The panel has also concluded that the police have failed to undertake investigations into the cases brought before Suhakam.

Likewise, the panel has concluded that Koh was abducted by state agents.

The absence of the police during the Suhakam meeting today is unacceptable, considering that Suhakam is a statutory body.

As recommended, it is also timely for the government to expedite the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

RONNIE LIU is the state assemblyperson for Sungai Pelek state constituency.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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