Inquiry into Malaysian pastor's abduction

Wife tells of frequent stops by immigration

She says trouble at checkpoints started after a 2011 raid by Islamic authorities on church

KUALA LUMPUR • Missing Malaysian pastor Raymond Koh and his wife, Ms Susanna Liew, were frequently stopped by Malaysian immigration and referred to the Special Branch when they travelled abroad, a Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) inquiry was told yesterday.

Ms Liew, addressing the hearing, said her husband had been stopped nine times over the years as they tried to travel to Singapore, while she was stopped seven times, The Malaysian Insight (TMI) news site reported. These incidents happened after Islamic authorities in 2011 raided the church where Mr Koh was hosting a dinner with Malays in attendance, she said.

Mr Koh was accused of proselytising to Muslims, a sensitive issue in Malaysia. He had also received two bullets in the mail soon after the raid, she was reported to have told the hearing. The package contained a strongly worded warning.

Suhakam, a body appointed by the government, is holding an inquiry to look into the pastor's abduction in February by unknown men, as well as the disappearances of social activist Amri Che Mat, Malay pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife, Ms Ruth Sitepu.

The police have said they are looking into the case but have failed to make any headway.

The unexplained disappearances have raised anxiety in Malaysia.

On Thursday, a witness to Mr Koh's abduction said he saw several men in ski masks alighting from black vehicles in a Petaling Jaya street to grab the pastor. The kidnapping which took place in the day time was also captured by the security camera of a house nearby.

The inquiry was adjourned for 15 minutes yesterday after Ms Liew broke into tears while speaking of how insecure she felt after her husband received the bullets, Malaysiakini new site reported.

When asked if his social work with Harapan Komuniti involved preaching to Muslims, she said he had made it clear to the volunteers that there should be no preaching or talking about religion. "The volunteers are from different colleges and from all races," TMI reported her telling the inquiry.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline 'Wife tells of frequent stops by immigration'. Print Edition | Subscribe