KUCHING, April 8: The Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) hopes the federal government will establish an independent and impartial task force to relook into the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh and social activist Amri Che Mat.
In a press statement today, ACS also urged Putrajaya to act accordingly in the event of any unlawful activity in order to uphold the rule of law.
“In view of the seriousness of the findings and the long-suffering and anguish that the families of Pastor Koh and Amri had endured, ACS calls on the federal government to promptly establish an independent and impartial task force to reinvestigate their disappearance and take appropriate action in the event of any unlawful action.
“This would not only be in line with upholding the rule of law but also to ensure that no one is above the law,” it emphasised.
ACS appealed to the government to take heed of and immediately act on the recommendations made by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
“ACS also calls on the government to uphold the guarantee of religious freedom in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution and to ensure the safety and security of all places of worship and preachers and worshippers regardless of race or creed,” it stated.
It was reported recently that the findings from the public inquiry by Suhakam revealed that Amri and Koh were victims of enforced disappearance. It was also reported that it was the considered view of Suhakam that the enforced disappearance of Amri was carried out by agents of the state.
ACS expressed its deep concern with the Suhakam findings that agents of the state were involved in both abductions.
ACS stated its appreciation that the findings and recommendations of Suhakam are neither conclusive of guilt nor have the legal effect of a court judgment. However, it noted the findings that were made following an 18-month inquiry have raised public alarm and serious concern, especially with regards to the constitutional right of religious freedom and the safety of citizens from actions by state agents.
“The rights of a person to liberty, life and religious freedom are the most fundamental rights and liberties proclaimed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and enshrined in Article 5 and 11 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
“ACS stands together with the government to promote peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, understanding and harmony among all the communities and people of Malaysia,” it said. — DayakDaily