It is close to a month now since Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted in broad daylight on the streets of a city in Malaysia, and there has been no new, serious leads. However, the Malaysian police arrested a possible suspect on March 9. The 32-year old man of Chinese ethnicity was picked up by the police at 3am on Thursday in Ampang, Selangor, according to Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Seri Abdul Samah Mat. He mentioned, "The suspect contacted the victim's family a day before his arrest and asked for a ransom for the pastor's release."
Ridiculous ransom demand of RM30,000
The police also did make mention that there was a ransom demand from the arrested man amounting to RM30,000. Surely this is but a red herring, and the skeptical Malaysian public, having had wool pulled over their eyes for many years by the authorities with mind boggling statements, were left bewildered at the audacity of the police actually thinking that this is a suspect involved in the kidnapping.
At last count, there were approximately 15 people involved in the February 13 abduction as seen through the leaked CCTV footage. Assuming the arrested suspect was involved in the abduction, it would amount to a paltry RM2,000 per person if the ransom demand was spread equally among the 15. The fact that the family themselves managed to raise RM100,000 as a reward for anyone who has information that could lead to the discovery of Pastor Raymond without anyone doing so to date makes the RM30,000 ransom demand all the more ludicrous.
Generally speaking, the Malaysian public thinks that this is just a show by the authorities to be seen as though they are doing something. Otherwise, the police force has more or less remained silent the past few weeks, citing that the entire kidnapping episode is a delicate one that needs to be handled carefully, and hence, they are unable to share too much information with the public. What do you think?
Candlelight vigils for Pastor Raymond Koh held in more states, including East Malaysia
What started off as a small candlelight vigil in Shah Alam, Selangor, where approximately 300 people were in attendance (along with a handful of Muslims who stood in solidarity with other Malaysians who would like to see Pastor Raymond reunite with his family again) earlier this week has spread to other states such as Penang, Johor, Seremban, and even all the way to East Malaysia, in particular, the state of Sarawak.
There were three candlelight vigils held in different locations in Sarawak, which is the only Christian-majority state left in Malaysia that is allegedly undergoing strong Islamic evangelism efforts. Gospel Herald has sources on the ground that says approximately 1,500 people turned up for the candlelight vigil which was held in Sibu, Sarawak -- a show of force that Malaysians are tired and fed up of the dark shenanigans that happen in the country.
As at press time, a permit is being applied to legally hold a candlelight vigil in the other East Malaysian state, Sabah, which was once a Christian majority state as well. The Inspector General of Police in Malaysia is not too happy that candlelight vigils are being held, despite the obvious fact that such candlelight vigils are not impeding investigations in any way. Perhaps he is being found out that the Peter Principle is also applicable in civil service, and as the adage goes, "Do not stay in the kitchen if you cannot stand the heat."
WCC sends open letter to Malaysian Prime Minister
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has sent an official letter of appeal to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, to step up investigation efforts concerning the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh. WCC general-secretary Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit issued a statement, "I therefore respectfully ask you to order an intensification of the investigation into the abduction of Pastor Koh to ascertain his whereabouts, and ensure his immediate release and return to his family." The open letter is a watershed event in the entire abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh, where very little detail has been shared among the public so much so it does seem as though the police are clueless about the entire situation.
Hopefully Mr. Najib Razak would receive the open letter from the WCC with an open heart and move the Muslim-majority government machinery to work harder at cracking this case. With WCC being a global fellowship that has more than 348 member churches spread across 110 countries and territories worldwide, this open letter carries plenty of clout and its contents should be taken seriously.
Alleged conversion controversy in 2011 were caused by JAIS, the state religious body
The only controversy that was stirred up were by the state religious department (JAIS) in 2011, where they falsely accused and vilified Pastor Raymond Koh for converting Muslims. It has been more than 5 years since, and no legal action has been taken against Pastor Raymond for the simple fact that he has not performed any conversion of Muslims. But because of that situation, certain Muslims in Malaysia went about sharing false and slanderous news that Pastor Raymond receives a whopping RM40,000 for each conversion (link is in Bahasa Malaysia), being funded by a source in Australia. These are serious allegations that have gone unfounded, but remain online, going to show the one-sided nature of Malaysia when it comes to religion.
We continue to stand in solidarity with the family of Pastor Raymond Koh, and pray that the fears of his son remain unfounded. Petitions have already been set up to help pressure the relevant authorities in Malaysia to intensify their efforts in looking for Raymond Koh. There are also a couple of Facebook accounts that have been set up by those who are close to the family: Find Raymond Koh and Everybody Loves Raymond Koh, which would be official channels that share the latest information and updates on the situation.