SINGAPORE: The Malaysian Bar issued a statement on Tuesday (Apr 11) to express its concern over the "unprecedented mysterious disappearances" of Malaysians reported in the media, which have taken place in separate incidents since November 2016.
The legal practitioners body said it was "deeply troubled" by the incidents, which involved pastors Raymond Koh and Joshua Hilmy, as well as the latter's wife Ruth. The couple was reportedly last seen on Nov 30, while Pastor Koh is said to have been abducted from his car by men in a convoy of vehicles on Feb 13.
CCTV footage of Pastor Koh's alleged kidnap has been circulating online. On Mar 5, a Malaysian police official did not say if it was genuine, but confirmed that it was "under investigation". Two days later, police chief Khalid Abu Bakar responded in a statement to what he described as "denunciation that nothing has been done about the case", appealing for "time and space" to deal with such a "complex" case.
The other two disappearances raised by the Malaysian Bar were that of social activists Amri Che Mat and Peter Chong, who were last seen near or at their homes in November 2016 and April 2017 respectively.
"It is shocking and outrageous that a growing number of Malaysians could inexplicably disappear and not be found for days, weeks and months," said president of the body George Varughese in the statement. "This has never happened before in this country, to the best of our knowledge."
He also described the "noticeable lack of information on the steps taken by authorities to locate and recover" the five as "most disconcerting".
"(It) raises alarming doubts on the adequacy of the safety and security measures in the country," he added.
The Malaysian Bar called on authorities to "leave no stone unturned" in their efforts, not just to locate and secure the release of the individuals, but also to "bring the perpetrators of the abduction and disappearances to justice, without any further delay", said Varughese.
He said "concrete and clear action" is needed to "alleviate public fear and anxiety", and urged police to provide regular updates of the status of their investigations.