Why the exceptional and uncharacteristic silence from the authorities over the kidnapping of Pastor Raymond Koh? Why do the police appear clueless? It does not bode well for the pastor’s family, hence the need for his son’s second police report, expressing fears that his father may have been murdered.
According to media reports, there is closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage of the incident. If there is one unmistakable crucial clue, it is the efficiency of the kidnapping. It was well planned and executed. It is the sort of operation you associate with trained personnel out on a mission.
Who in the country possesses such professional and well-honed skills? Who is so desperate as to kidnap a harmless man doing good works? What is their motive? Is there a secret agenda?
Body language reveals a lot and there is no denying the body language of the kidnappers. They were quick and efficient. The operation was not carried out by your rough and tumble street criminals. The police should spare no efforts in securing the release of the victim or risk losing public confidence.
In the intervening silence (the police chief reportedly will instruct the police to keep Koh’s family updated) people speculate and spread rumours. That’s not always helpful. The people must rely on factual police briefings, which sadly, appear non-existent.
This is not a matter of involving only Christians. Can the public ever feel safe anymore with kidnappers roaming the streets in black SUVs?
Malaysia’s reputation is already at risk as the international media picks up the story and social media is spreading conversations and news on the kidnapping. Global organisations and human rights groups are criticising the kidnapping as an assault on religious freedom and the growth in religious persecution.
Much-publicised Malay Christian convert Lina Joy and her husband secured refugee status in a foreign country as victims of religious persecution. Will the day soon arrive when more stalked Christian pastors and persecuted Christians can successfully apply for refugee status in Western countries?
Pastor Koh is a victim of religious persecution, yet there are those in denial. The man had received a prior ‘bullet threat’ six years ago. Whatever the truth, Pastor Koh is the one least deserving of such an ordeal.
As much as former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad was draconian and evil in arresting 10 or so Christian pastors and ordinary Christians during Operasi Lalang in 1987, some of whom have since successfully secured refugee status in Western countries, kidnappings of Christians were not part of his administration’s or any group’s modus operandi.
The government and police have to act to reassure an alarmed public over this new scourge on public safety. Malaysians trust that the cops will get cracking and rescue Pastor Koh and put an end to the kidnap gang. Police credibility has never been so much at stake and with it, the government’s credibility.
‘Act of sheer terror’
Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam president Dr George Jacob does not mince his words and calls the kidnapping an “act of sheer terror”.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Taoists (MCCBCHST) in their public statement states, among their concerns, that “news of his abduction have fanned fears across all religious divides in Malaysian society, as it is unprecedented for a man of faith to be abducted in this way in our peaceful multicultural country.”
The harsh reality however is this is not a Christian concern alone. A kidnap of this sort can happen to anyone. In a climate of political agitations by agents provocateurs, anyone can be a target of shadowy kidnappings. Who does not recall the arrest of Anwar Ibrahim by masked police some years ago?
Martin Niemoeller’s words “And they first came for the Socialists…” now haunt Malaysia’s citizens. No one is safe as long as Nazi-like tactics are used against the people. It is an ominous wake-up call for those who still think they are safe among the silent majority. They need to act. They need to help the police catch the kidnappers.
I have every confidence the police will solve the mystery of Pastor Koh’s disappearance. His son is worried he is dead. And if his worry turns out to be true, it will sound the death knell for the nation as we know it, described as the ‘truly Asian’ country that once was the model of racial and religious diversity and moderation.
There is nothing moderate about the kidnapping of an innocuous Christian pastor. Unless he is returned safely and unharmed to his family, the blood of a righteous man will be a huge stain on the country’s already diminished integrity and reputation.
The “worrying escalation of violence against people of faith in the country”, the MCCBCHST laments, will worsen because the government has yet to come out and acted strongly and decisively against the extremists. It has been selective.
The buck stops at Putrajaya. Governments are responsible for public safety. If the government fails to arrest and charge the culprits, what will happen to the country as a safe haven for diversity? The government must be held responsible for the safety of all citizens.
People must have confidence Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will be able to solve the mystery. He is the PM for all Malaysians, including the minority Christians. After all, at a Christmas function, he did promise to govern for all, did he not?
Is there a secret well-trained group in existence? It is a question that is abuzz in the rumour mill and only the police can quell the growing public worries.
The liberty of the nation has been attacked and the government ought to spare no effort in finding Pastor Koh. The government’s and the police force’s credibility are at stake. The benefit to whoever is behind the kidnap of Pastor Koh is not worth the cost to the nation.
A Christian martyr is the last thing the country needs.
STEVE OH is the author of the novel ‘Tiger King of the Golden Jungle’ and composer of the musical of the same title. He believes in good governance and morally upright leaders.
Source : @ Malaysiakini