Enforced Disappearance Task Force: Why Please Alleged Perpetrators?

SUARAM is baffled by the answers from Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad on the task force investigating into the disappearance of Amri Che Mat and Raymond Koh.

The establishment of the task force is intended to bring perpetrators that orchestrated the disappearance of these individuals to justice. The task force should comprise of independent individuals and experts that could uncover the hidden truths behind the disappearance of the two individuals and ensure justice is done for the victims and their family..

Continue reading “Enforced Disappearance Task Force: Why Please Alleged Perpetrators?”


Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 27 June 2019

The Minister of Home Affairs is one of the most senior officers in the Cabinet. His chief responsibility is the maintenance of our country’s internal security through the country’s large police force which is under his jurisdiction. Yet, as we glance at today’s news, we are shown the stark contradiction in the performance by the police and Home Minister. On the one hand, they claim confidence in tackling the threat of international terrorism while on the other, they continue to draw a blank when it comes to tracing Pastor Koh, Amri and Indira Gandhi’s daughter!  The Malaysian Police Force’s apparent “selective efficiency” gives us cause for serious concern.



Press Release by the Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance (CAGED)
30th August, 2017

We refer to the Open Letter to IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar from Susanna Liew, the wife of Pastor Raymond Koh, released today.

The letter has exposed that the IGP has exercised double standards. This is so because he urged the family not to speak to the media about the abduction, but himself cavalierly and carelessly spoke to the media about the abduction.  Also, the police spoke more to the media and less to the victim’s grieving and restless family.

We applaud Susanna for boldly saying so in public and call upon the police to apologize for their negligence and to act more professionally in the future.

Yet, we at CAGED are particularly alarmed by the allegation of inconsistencies between (1) the IGP’s announcement on 25 June of “new leads” found after a “main player” in an arms, drugs and human trafficking syndicate was shot dead in Kedah and (2) the Kedah Chief of Police (CPO), Datuk Asri Yusoff’s 18 June press conference about the shootout, a day after it occurred.

The open letter has pointed out that in his press conference, the Kedah CPO listed items recovered from the car of the “main player” and from his house.

The Kedah list included 2 car number plates, WNS5168 and BNW217. It did not include any objects related to Pastor Raymond Koh. Yet, on 25 June the IGP said the Kedah police had seized, from the house of the “main player,” a number plate bearing the letters ST5515D, the registration number of the car Pastor Koh was driving when he was abducted.

CAGED therefore asks IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to answer these questions:

  1. Why is number plate ST5515D not included in the list of seized items released by the Kedah Police on 18 June?
  2. Did you fabricate the claim that Pastor Raymond Koh’s number plate was found in the dead suspect’s house?

We at CAGED are sure the public at large would want to hear the IGP’s answers to the above 2 questions.

If the IGP does not provide a satisfactory response, we will have to conclude that he fabricated the “link” between the dead smuggler and Pastor Raymond Koh’s abduction.  And, we will ask, why do the police find it necessary to fabricate evidence?

Statement issued by:

The Committee of CAGED

For further information please contact CAGED at +603 7954 5724 or email at [email protected]

United Nations – 23 May 2017

The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia expresses serious concern regarding the recent disappearances of community workers Amri Che Mat and Raymond Keng Joo Koh, and urges Malaysian authorities to urgently investigate the abductions of the two men associated with religious minority groups.

Mr. Che Mat, founder of the NGO Perlis Hope which provides assistance to the underprivileged, disappeared on 24 November 2016, and Mr. Koh, founder of Harapan Komuniti (Hope Community) that undertakes social and charity work among marginalized and underprivileged communities, disappeared on 13 February 2017. According to sources, both men were driving alone when they were forced to stop by a convoy of vehicles and swiftly taken away. Neither of the two men have been seen since. Mr Koh’s abduction was captured on CCTV, and footage showed at least eight masked individuals dressed in black taking him away. Despite official reports being lodged with police, the authorities have provided very little information on these two cases.

Mr. Che Mat had previously been accused of “deviant” Shia teachings in Malaysia, which endorses only the Sunni denomination of Islam. Mr. Koh, a Christian pastor, had previously been investigated by Malaysian religious authorities for “proselytizing Muslims” and had also received death threats due to his work.

“We are gravely concerned for the safety and well being of the two men and we fear they may have been abducted due to their community work,” said Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights Office in Bangkok. “We call on the Malaysian Government to conduct a prompt investigation to establish their whereabouts, and to keep their families informed of any developments.

“Enforced disappearances are rare in Malaysia and it is deeply concerning that little progress has been made into these cases,” said Meillan.

The UN Human Rights Office calls on the Malaysian Government to urgently sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Original statement available at UN Bangkok Facebook

Malaysia: Investigate two possible cases of enforced disappearance

FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights

and its member organization in Malaysia

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Joint press release

Malaysia: Investigate two possible cases of enforced disappearance

Kuala Lumpur, Paris, 16 May 2017: Malaysian authorities must immediately conduct swift, thorough, and impartial investigations into the disappearances of a social worker and a pastor, FIDH, its member organization Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), and the civil society coalition Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance (CAGED) urged today.

The three groups made the call a day after FIDH submitted two communications related to the cases to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID).[1] Between 1980 and 2016, the WGEID received only two other cases of enforced disappearance in Malaysia – neither case is still open.

“It is extremely troubling that the specter of enforced disappearance has reared its ugly head in Malaysia. Malaysian authorities must immediately investigate the disappearance of Amri Che Mat and Raymond Koh in order to determine their whereabouts and safely return them to their families,” said FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos.

FIDH, SUARAM, and CAGED also call on the authorities to take measures to protect those who are involved in the investigations from any act or threat of violence, intimidation, or reprisal. This includes complainants, witnesses, relatives of the disappeared persons, their lawyers, and NGOs.

Christian pastor and social worker Raymond Koh was abducted on the morning of 13 February 2017 in Petaling Jaya, Selangor State, while he was driving his car to meet a friend in a Petaling Jaya suburb. Mr. Koh never arrived at his intended destination. The examination of CCTV footage from various security cameras of houses near the place of his abduction showed a silver car, believed to be driven by Mr. Koh, being surrounded by three black SUVs. The SUVs forced Mr. Koh’s car to stop at about 10:30am. At least eight masked men dressed in black came out of the SUVs before a struggle ensued. Less than one minute later, video footage showed that both Mr. Koh and his car had been removed from the scene and driven away. Two cars and two motorbikes followed the convoy. To date, neither Mr. Koh nor his car have been found. Broken glass and Mr. Koh’s car license plate were later found at the scene.

According to an eyewitness account, Amri Che Mat, the founder of a local community NGO called Perlis Hope, was abducted on the night of 24 November 2016 after being stopped by a five-vehicle convoy roughly 550 meters from his house located in Kangar, Perlis State. Mr. Amri was on his way to meet a friend in Jitra, Kedah State. An eyewitness said that roughly 15 to 20 people were involved in the kidnapping. Eyewitnesses wanted to intervene but they made a retreat when they saw that the assailants were carrying firearms and had pointed them at Mr. Amri’s vehicle. Mr. Amri was forced into one of the kidnappers’ cars and the convoy drove off. On 25 November 2016, at 12:30am, a security guard at a school in Padang Besar, Perlis State (about 20km from Mr. Amri’s house), discovered Mr. Amri’s car moments after two vehicles had entered and then only one vehicle had left the school compound. The windscreen and side windows of Mr. Amri’s car had been smashed.

Several elements strongly suggest the involvement of individuals with ties to state actors in both abductions. First, the abductions appeared to have been carefully planned and were professionally executed, with both operations taking less than 60 seconds. Second, the abductors appeared to be well funded (they had several vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks) and – in the case of Amri Che Mat’s abduction – possessed firearms. Finally, to date, no ransoms have been demanded, nor have the families been contacted directly or indirectly by the abductors – a fact that suggests the abduction was not carried out for monetary gain.

Malaysia’s Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar has made numerous public statements that illustrate animosity towards the parties demanding a thorough investigation and provided no meaningful information on the status of the police investigation.

On 6 March 2017, Mr. Khalid told a press conference “to please shut up” and allow the police to investigate Raymond Koh’s abduction. Khalid also dismissed allegations that government special forces were involved in Mr. Koh’s abduction. On 20 March 2017, Khalid said that the police investigations were at a stalemate and blamed the media and the publicity for the lack of progress. “To the media, individuals and NGOs who want to get involved in kidnap cases, shut your bloody mouth,” he warned. On 6 April 2017, Khalid was quoted by numerous news media as saying that instead of focusing on the abductors, police were investigating Mr. Koh’s activities. The police also criticized the dissemination of information about Mr. Amri’s disappearance on social media and claimed that it endangered his safety.

“Instead of trying to sweep these two serious crimes under the carpet, the Malaysian authorities must seriously investigate these two disappearances and inform the victims’ relatives about the progress and results of the investigations. The government should also immediately begin the process of ratifying the convention on enforced disappearance,” said SUARAM Executive Director and CAGED member Sevan Doraisamy.

Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) defines enforced disappearance as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person.” Articles 3 and 12 of the ICPPED impose on state parties an obligation to conduct prompt and impartial investigations into all allegations of enforced disappearances. Malaysia is not a state party to the ICPPED. However, the ICPPED codifies international law applicable to enforced disappearance and is universally applicable.

Press contacts:

FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) – Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)

FIDH: Ms. Audrey Couprie (French, English) – Tel: +33143551412 (Paris)

SUARAM: Mr. Sevan Doraisamy (English, Malay) – Tel: +60169708370 (Kuala Lumpur)


[1] The WGEID is a body that the United Nations established to assist families of disappeared persons in determining their fate or whereabouts. The WGEID receives and reviews cases of enforced disappearance and transmits them to governments concerned to request that an investigation be carried out in order to clarify the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared persons.

The International Federation for Human Rights, known by its French acronym FIDH, is an international human rights NGO representing 184 organizations from close to 120 countries. Since 1922, FIDH has been defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as set out in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights.