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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Abduction case of Pastor Raymond should be taken seriously

COMMENT | The safety of abducted Pastor Raymond Koh is now top priority for Malaysian churches.

If he returns alive, it is all well and probably the family would want to just move on; if he is found dead, it raises alarm as questions would be asked whether our country has been infiltrated by ‘extremists-bordering-towards-terrorists’ as a possible explanation to the mysterious abduction.

For this reason, the Christian Federation of Malaysia has raised its concerns over the disappearance of Pastor Koh, the founder of Harapan Komuniti and urging everyone to pray “for the success of the police in locating Koh and for the abductors to release the pastor unharmed”.

It does not appear as simply just another abduction, because it was done professionally in broad daylight. Nor was it just another prank that will go away.

We have learnt that six years ago, Koh had received a bullet that was sent to his home. This is something that I am happy to learn that the police are not taking lightly. The death threat, more than just a verbal threat, is serious.

The police have done a great job in carrying out the investigation into the death of the North Korean leader’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam. Therefore, it cannot be seen as taking the abduction case as something of lesser importance, since Koh is a Malaysian citizen.

His abduction calls for a lot of attention.

Wrong timing

Koh’s disappearance happened at a time when the country is going through a bit of a bad patch, especially with the government seemingly now bowing to the pressure from an Islamist party to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, or Act 355.

A number of civil rights leaders, politicians, retired judges, a mufti and civil servants have spoken up against the amendment. They are the voices of the silent majority.

What past leaders have resisted for over 50 years, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak now seeks to push for the amendments. Critics have of course said that he is trying to divert the attention of the people from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal which has hit international headlines.

In fact, MCA secretary-general Ong Ka Chuan has sent a wrong signal to the Chinese community that MCA, being the second largest party in the Barisan Nasional, exists only to have its opinion heard on behalf of the Chinese community instead of objecting to the amendments.

A Malaysiakini reader going by the pseudonym ‘Drngsc’ has raised an important question: “Please MCA secretary-general Ong Ka Chuan, stop speaking with a forked tongue. Will MCA be objecting to amendments to Act 355 - yes or no?”

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