Malaysia (MNN) – After a year of investigation, the official inquiry into the military-style precision snatch of Malaysian pastor Raymond Koh is finally over. The conclusion: Special Branch – the police’s intelligence unit – abducted Koh.
Voice of the Martyrs Canada spokesman Greg Musselman wonders if this is a method of intimidating the Christians into silence: “These kinds of things often send a message to others: ‘If you’re going to be involved in trying to bring people to Christianity there’s going to be a price to pay.’ We need to continue to pray for the safety of those that are brave enough to share the message of Christ.”
The context: Malaysia is considering a bill that incorporates parts of a strict Islamic penal code (hudud) into the country’s legal system. One of the Islamist Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS)’s main goals is for the full implementation of Sharia law. It remains a contentious issue.
Incidents with remarkable similarities to Koh’s kidnapping targeted other activists, Amri Che Mat, and another pastor, Joshua Hilmy, his wife Ruth, all of whom went missing in 2016. Musselman explains that in all of these cases, their messages were about change. “Pastor Koh has been very much of an activist, trying to bring more religious freedom into Malaysia, as well as being a pastor and a minister of the Gospel, telling others about Jesus. He has been accused of bringing Muslims to Christ.”
In the run-up to his kidnapping, Koh received multiple threats accusing him of preaching to Muslims. Proselytizing Muslims is illegal in Malaysia. In 2017, surveillance footage and eye witness reports showed a group of masked men taking Koh from his car on February 13 in Petaling Jaya. Then, nothing. No ransom notes, no communication. Koh just disappeared.
What recourse is there? “If this is Special Branch in Malaysia behind this, I think that you’re saying ‘how do we go to the government on this and put pressure (on)’ and I think this has to go in a public way”, muses Musselman.
With the results of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, several things are happening. First, church leaders in Malaysia want the government to “Immediately take steps to clarify and separate the jurisdictions of the religious authorities and the Royal Malaysia Police.”
Second, the government plans to open a new investigation into the disappearances into Amri Che Mat and pastor Koh.
Third, the Council of Churches of Malaysia want remedies for the families, “especially their right to know the truth about the fate and whereabouts of these two men.”
Pray For Truth
Additionally, Musselman says, “The hope is at least the new government can say ‘we weren’t behind this. We are investigating. Hopefully, he will be returned.’ That’s the best case scenario, or at least, if he’s no longer alive, that his family, friends, and community can at least begin the healing process.”
Working tirelessly to keep her husband’s case before the public eye, Susanna (Liew) expressed relief that the inquiry was over. Now, “She’s going to give the government some time, maybe six months. Especially to this Special Branch, ‘if you’ve got him–if you know anything, you need to let us know.’ I think we need to pray that the truth will come to light.”
Other things to pray for:
- Pray that Christians will stand firm in their faith, despite opposition
- Pray that Malaysian Christians will be free to practice their faith in Jesus Christ.
- Pray that all Christians in Malaysia will be able to freely access the Bible.
Headline photo courtesy World Watch Monitor.