The Malaysian Bar is deeply troubled by the unprecedented mysterious disappearances of Malaysians reported in the media, which have taken place in separate incidents since November 2016. These involved:
(1) Amri Che Mat, aged 43, social activist and founder of a non–governmental organisation, who was last seen near his residence in Perlis on 24 November 2016;(2) Pastor Joshua Hilmy, aged 50, who was reportedly last seen on 30 November 2016;(3) Ruth Hilmy, Pastor Joshua Hilmy’s wife, who was also reportedly last seen on 30 November 2016;(4) Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo, aged 62, who was abducted from his car by a group of more than 10 men in a convoy of vehicles, on 13 February 2017; and(5) Peter Chong, aged 54, social activist and former Petaling Jaya City Councillor, who was reportedly last seen at his residence on 5 April 2017.
It is shocking and outrageous that a growing number of Malaysians could inexplicably disappear and not be found for days, weeks and months. This has never happened before in this country, to the best of our knowledge, and has led to public perception and speculation of the occurrence of forced disappearances.
The security of this country and its peoples is of paramount importance not just for its residents but also for visitors and foreign investors. The noticeable lack of information on the steps taken by the authorities to locate and recover the five missing persons is most disconcerting, and raises alarming doubts on the adequacy of the safety and security measures in the country. This is especially so in the case of Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo, as his abduction was captured on video by several closed–circuit television cameras.
The Malaysian Bar calls on the authorities to leave no stone unturned in its efforts to locate and secure the release of the five individuals, and to bring the perpetrators of the abduction and disappearances (or forced disappearances, as the case may be) to justice, without any further delay. Only concrete and clear action by the authorities will alleviate public fear and anxiety, and instil confidence in the safety and security of this country and its peoples. In this regard, the Malaysian Bar also calls on the police to provide regular updates on the status of their investigations.
11 April 2017