The umbrella ecumenical group in Malaysia has called for the release of Pastor Raymond Koh, who was violently abducted from the streets of Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, one year ago today (13 February 2017). Writing ahead of today’s first anniversary, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Julian Leow Beng Kim, in his role as chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s executive committee, urged churches and Christians “to continue to look to God in prayer and to seek a closure to this dastardly act on a servant of God.”
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) brings together the three national church bodies: the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, and the Council of Churches of Malaysia, which includes the Anglican dioceses of West Malaysia, Kuching and Sabah.
“Let us in the coming days go before Almighty God to make intercession before Him that Pastor Raymond Koh may be found and be reunited with his family,” Archbishop Julian said. “Let us remember his beloved wife Susanna and his dear children Jonathan, Esther and Elizabeth in our prayers. That they be given great endurance and patience, be filled with the love of God and the peace which transcends all human understanding and find strength in their joy in the Lord is our fervent cry.
“We call on the authorities to complete with all urgency and diligence, all investigations into finding Pastor Raymond Koh and also Amri Che Mat, Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu.”
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) began an inquiry into the abduction of Pastor Koh, but this was brought to an abrupt halt once Suhakam was informed that a person had been charged with criminal kidnapping and abduction. But no information has been forthcoming about Pastor Koh’s whereabouts, and the arrest “did not however alleviate the anxieties of many with regard to his well-being,” Archbishop Julian said.
“We remain nonetheless hopeful that as it continues to probe the disappearances of Amri Che Mat, Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, Suhakam will be able to elicit facts to assuage the fears and concerns of many Malaysians struggling to understand how and why fellow Malaysians can suddenly disappear and not be found for such extended periods of time.”
In August, the Synod of the Diocese of West Malaysia passed a resolution marking 200 days since Pastor Koh’s capture. “As we observe this unfortunate anniversary, we continue to uphold Pastor Raymond Koh in our thoughts and prayers, asking for God’s protection to continue to be over him wherever he may be,” they said.
Speaking to the MalaysiaKini newspaper today, Pastor Koh’s daughter said: “As I’m 22 this year, all my friends are like, come let’s just not live in Malaysia, let’s go live somewhere else where it is safer, where you don’t have to suffer. It really makes me sad to see that these things can happen in my country, and I want to be proud to say I’m Malaysian.”
Pastor Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew, speaking to the same newspaper, thanked people for their support. “We know we are not alone,” she said, “so thank you to everyone who helped us to get closer to the truth of what happened to Raymond.”