Wife of pastor, missing for 200 days, lashes out at police chief

Pastor Raymond Koh and his wife Susanna Liew. He was abducted from his car in broad daylight as he was driving in Petaling Jaya, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, on Feb 13.
Pastor Raymond Koh and his wife Susanna Liew. He was abducted from his car in broad daylight as he was driving in Petaling Jaya, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, on Feb 13.PHOTO: RAYMOND KOH'S FAMILY

KUALA LUMPUR • The wife of missing Malaysian pastor Raymond Koh has written a scathing open letter to the country's police chief, as the disappearance of the social activist will reach 200 days today, local media has reported.

The letter by Ms Susanna Liew listed down announcements by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar, who is about to retire, from April this year on developments in the case. She said his announcements were "vague, bordering on sensationalist, with inconsistencies that raise more questions than answers and doubts about the authorities' commitment to properly investigate this case", according to The Sun newspaper.

Ms Liew, 61, also referred to the IGP's advice to Mr Koh's family not to speak to the media about the case, but with the police chief often telling the media about the case. " I am bewildered as to why you have chosen to ignore your own advice," Ms Liew wrote, as quoted by Malaysiakini news site yesterday.

Tan Sri Khalid, who became IGP in 2013, will retire on his 60th birthday on Sept 5.

Mr Koh, 64, was abducted in broad daylight on Feb 13 as he was driving in Petaling Jaya, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur. Three black sport utility vehicles blocked his car, and eight masked men alighted. He was removed from the scene, as was his car, according to footage captured on closed-circuit TV cameras installed in front of a nearby house. The case has alarmed Malaysians as the footage showed a professionally executed abduction, and there were no clues as to Mr Koh's whereabouts.

In his last comments on the case in July, Mr Khalid said Mr Koh might have been kidnapped by human traffickers who were active along the Malaysia-Thai border. But the police chief did not say why a criminal syndicate would abduct Mr Koh, a one-time preacher who has for a decade worked with single mothers, drug addicts and those struggling with HIV in Malaysia.

In late June, Mr Khalid said the police found "various photos, including… the house of the pastor, and licence plates bearing the number ST5515D", referring to the number plate of Mr Koh's Honda Accord, when they raided a house linked to a human trafficking syndicate operating along the border.

Ms Liew in her letter wrote about her family's struggle to cope with Mr Koh's absence and not knowing his fate. "We are devastated," she said. "What makes it worse is the way you and the police under your command have treated us, Raymond's family, while conducting investigations into his abduction."

She asked: "Why are you doing this? If this sensational story is based on a logical and credible line of enquiry with verifiable evidence, then why not update me accordingly? If there is no credible evidence, then why build this narrative in the full glare of media spotlight? Why is there a need for this?

"It is imperative that all parties can work together to ensure that investigations are conducted in a transparent, impartial and accountable manner so that truth and justice prevail."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2017, with the headline 'Wife of pastor, missing for 200 days, lashes out at police chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe