Pastor Koh knew he was a marked man: Witness

KUALA LUMPUR: Pastor Raymond Koh was aware that he had become a "marked man" following a raid by the Selangor religious authority in a multi-racial event he organised in 2011.

Sri Ram KS Gopala Iyer, the third witness called to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia's (Suhakam) inquiry, said Koh had talked to him about the harassment he had received, which was attributed to the Special Branch (SB).

Sri Ram, who is a director of the Harapan Komuniti founded by Koh, added that the missing pastor had voiced out the problems he faced during their last meeting on Jan 8.

"Even on that day, he kept voicing out to me all of the stress on him. I told him he was a marked man," he said.

"He agreed to that," Sri Ram said as he took the witness stand before the three-panel inquiry, chaired by Suhakam commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai.

Commissioners Prof Datuk Dr Aishah Bidin and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Salleh also sat as the panellists at the inquiry held on the disappearance of Koh, social activist Amri Che Mat and Pastor Joshua and his wife, Ruth Hilmi.

In 2011, Koh who was executive director of community group Harapan Komuniti ran into issues with the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) when he organised a multi-racial charity event attended by Muslims and non-Muslims at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church here.

The event was disrupted when Jais accompanied by police raided the church following claims that the organising group had held the gathering in an attempt to allegedly entice Muslims to convert to Christianity.

According to Sri Ram, Koh had complained of receiving unknown phone calls and other forms of harassment since the raid.

"There was someone behind this. He believed it was probably (done) by SB," he said.

He also recalled that Koh had informed him of being tailed by unknown individuals in 2011 and 2012.

"He was being followed by someone he didn't know, by motorbikes and by car. There are people taking photos of him," he added.

He added the Harapan Komuniti office was "raided" by the police two days after the disappearance of Koh and took out a page from the students' register.

"They took photos of details of the students. We have students coming there for tuition classes," he said, adding that the police had also requested to question one of the students.

He added one of the students, had come to the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters several days later for questioning.

The student was then asked, among others, whether he had received any religious teaching at Harapan Komuniti or whether he had ever been to church, to which he replied no.

Sri Ram said the police came to Harapan Komuniti office again on March 1 for a questioning session with five other students, an Indian Muslim girl and four Malay boys.

"Police did not give reasons on the questioning. I asked why. They said they just wanted to find out the activities of Harapan Komuniti," he said.

When asked by the panel whether there were any proselytising activities conducted by Harapan Komuniti or Koh, Sri Ram replied no.

On the morning of Feb 13, the 62-year-old Koh was abducted by a group of masked men less than 100m from a police housing complex in SS4, Kelana Jaya.

Video footage from CCTVs in the area showed seven vehicles, including three black four-wheel drive vehicles, forcing his car to a stop in the middle of the road.
The drivers then used their vehicles to box in Koh's car and prevent him from driving off.

Less than a minute later, Koh is apparently overpowered and his car bearing registration plate ST5515D is seen being driven away, with the other abductors following hurriedly.