More than 400 people gathered last night at a church who played host to the Ecumenical Solidarity Prayer Service which saw many of Malaysia’s church leaders in attendance -- remembering Pastor Raymond Koh who has been missing for the past 30 days after being abducted in broad daylight by at least 15 men and a coterie of vehicles.
Church leaders who made their presence known in a show of unity among the body of Christ in Malaysia included Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Rev Father Julian Leow Beng Kim, who is also the head of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, Methodist Church Bishop Dr Ong Hwai Teik as well as South-East Asia Anglican Archbishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing. Council of Churches Malaysia secretary-general Rev Dr Herman Shastri also shared in the closing prayer and benediction, but not before he brought greetings from the World Council of Churches that Malaysians do not stand alone as there are a thousand other candles burning brightly worldwide in remembrance of Pastor Raymond Koh and other persecuted followers of Christ.
In the prayer service, those in attendance also lifted up Pastor Koh’s entire family in prayer, in addition to the faith workers and those who are on the vulnerable fringes of society, the nation’s leaders, and the entire nation. Scripture passages were read by Pastor Koh’s children, with his daughters Esther and Elizabeth sharing a poem titled “Where is Raymond Koh?” in both English and the national language. Pastor Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew, also took the opportunity to thank everyone from the bottom of her heart for the overwhelming show of support thus far, and continued to exhort everyone to be patient and understanding with the authorities who they themselves are cracking their heads in trying to solve this case.
It was an unprecedented meeting, where there were at least representation from 72 different churches. To bring together everyone and work seamlessly in under a week is nothing but a testament to God’s goodness, grace and mercy as His children exhibit the unity that Jesus Christ prayed for before He left his earthly ministry and was glorified.
As at press time, no new leads have been found, and neither are there any new CCTV footage of the vehicles used in the abduction released or discovered, despite Malaysia’s numerous highways being equipped with state of the art camera systems that are meant to be called into action in such an eventuality. It cannot be helped that the public perspective of those who walk in the corridors of power continue to slip, as whispers of this being a religious persecution that has received governmental backing begin to grow. It would not be surprising if that is the case, as there has been precedents in the past to make such a train of thought possible. Petitions have been set up but to no avail, while candlelight vigils were hosted across many major cities and even smaller towns that saw even the participation of Muslims and other Malaysians who are concerned for a missing man of the cloth.
Malaysia is seen by many to be a moderate Muslim country, although such semantics can be debatable depending on which side of the divide you stand on. Over the years, there has been an increased level of persecution against the Christian minority in the country (as evident by Malaysia rising up through the ranks of the World Watch List), and typical of just about every other Muslim-dominated country in the world, the brand of Islam brandished grows more unforgiving by the day in an attempt to establish a stronger foothold in the lives of Malaysia’s peace loving citizens.
Another vigil on April 8, 2017
It has come to our attention that there will be another vigil which will be held this April 8 at Dataran Merdeka (Freedom Square) in Kuala Lumpur, at 2030 hours. Organized by SUARAM alongside other civil rights establishments in Malaysia, all are welcome regardless of political leanings, creed, race, and religion. The main focus of this night of solidarity? To stand up for the victims of abduction: with the people remembering Pastor Raymond Koh, community worker Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth (suspected to have been abducted as well since the end of last year), while asking one, simple question, “Where are they?”