MALAYSIA – On February 13, 2017 Raymond Koh was abducted near his home in Petaling Jaya, West Malaysia. Until now he has not been found. But significant changes have recently taken place in Malaysia, presenting a unique opportunity for immediate advocacy for Raymond Koh as well as Amri Che Mat, and Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu, all of whom were abducted in Malaysia, disappearing under similar circumstances.
The military-precision of both Amri Che Mat and Raymond Koh’s abduction, the latter of which was caught on CCTV footage, implies a coordinated attack by trained individuals. It has long been suspected that the Malaysian police were complicit in the abductions and knew the whereabouts of these four missing individuals.
Initial investigations by the police on the whereabouts of Raymond Koh, a Christian pastor, were frustrating for his family as authorities were more focused on his alleged criminal activities of attempting to convert Muslim teenagers to Christianity in the northern state of Perlis. Malaysian laws prohibit the proselytizing of Muslims.
A close family friend shared, “We are coming to terms that he may possibly be dead. The family have members have told me that in their hearts, they continue to hope that he is alive. But in their heads, they have come to accept that he is with the Lord, happy and joyful!”
Yet there is hope among advocates that justice will be seen in these cases since Mahathir Mohamad was sworn in as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister on Thursday, May 9, 2018. It was a stunning election comeback, defeating the coalition that has ruled the nation for six decades since independence from Britain.
Initial signs indicate that his government may be more amenable to Christians and work to uproot some of the corruption issues plagued by the previous Prime Minister. This, together with new developments in the case, including a police whistle-blower coming forward implicating a branch of the police force in Malaysia in the abductions of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat, opens an opportunity for more urgent advocacy.
These cases have now become a matter of massive public interest, both in and out of Malaysia. The world is watching to see whether Malaysia will show itself as a leader in freedom and justice, or continue down the path of corruption.