KUALA LUMPUR: The families of activist Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh have expressed concern over the composition of the task force to probe the alleged involvement of Special Branch members in the “enforced disappearance” of the duo.
Both families, in separate statements, questioned the appointment of former and serving police officers in the six-member task force, as announced by Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin earlier.
“It is with regret that the family notes that three out of six task force members are (former and serving) police officers, and to make matters much worse, Datuk Moktar Mohd Noor who was at the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) hearing submitting on behalf of the police, was appointed as a member.
“If a police officer who participated in the Suhakam hearing can be appointed into a task force, then a lawyer from each of the families should also be appointed in order to ensure a balanced and fair approach of the investigation and the report that is to be submitted.
“We find this totally unacceptable and we believe that in any part of the democratic civilised world, this would not happen,” read the statement from Koh’s family.
The task force is headed by former High Court judge Datuk Abd Rahim Uda.
The other members are Mokhtar, the former police legal division chief, federal police Integrity and Standards Compliance Department director Datuk Zamri Yahya, Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) operations director Datuk Muhammad Bukhari Ab Hamid, Attorney-General’s Chambers prosecuting division officer Mohd Sopian Zakaria and Police Commission (SPP) undersecretary Mohd Russaini Idrus.
Koh’s family also questioned the absence of any woman or any other member of a different race or religion to reflect the composition of the country and the muhibbah spirit which the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had promised during the last general election.
“In addition, suggestions made by the family such as to include a member from the Bar Council, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and a non-governmental organisation (NGO) representative in the task force were not taken into account.”
The family also called on the investigation into both (Amri and Koh) cases be looked into together, instead of Amri’s case to proceed first as announced by Muhyiddin.
“It is important that investigation into Amri’s case and that of Koh be looked into together as there are similar facts such as evidence, modus operandi and vehicles used,” they said.
Meanwhile, a statement issued on behalf of Amri’s wife Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, said although she and Amri’s daughters were glad that the government had finally taken steps to address Suhakam’s findings, they were concerned about the composition of the task force and how it would impact the independence and impartiality necessary for a credible investigation.
“For instance, we note (the presence of) Mokhtar, from a division that was implicated in the flawed investigation into Amri’s abduction and later, in the team representing the police during the Suhakam inquiry.
“As such, Mokhtar is clearly an interested party and so, represents a conflict of interest.”
In 2016, Amri, the co-founder of the Perlis Hope NGO, went out in his vehicle from his home in Kangar at about 11.30pm. His vehicle was later found at a construction site in the early hours of the following day.
Koh went missing in 2017 after he was abducted by a group of men while on his way to a friend’s house in Petaling Jaya.
Suhakam, in findings announced earlier this year following public inquiries into both disappearances, had said it found it likely that the two fell victim to “enforced disappearances” perpetrated by the state, in this case Special Branch policemen.