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Title: Hundreds gather in solidarity for missing Pastor
Date: 01-Mar-2017
Category: Features

KUCHING: A month after the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh, many questions are yet unanswered, and people are standing more united than ever across the country. 

In Sarawak, candlelight vigils were held as a show of support and concern last weekend at Bintulu and Kuching. Sibu held a similar vigil earlier in the week.

Here on Sunday night, hundreds of people mainly from churches around Kuching, braved the rain and soggy ground to assemble at Padang Merdeka, lighting up the dark with candles and singing songs.

Proving that this matter transcends political differences, the Sunday vigil also saw the presence of local politicians among the crowd of attendees.

These included Local Government Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is also Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president, Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen; Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Women national vice-president Voon Shiak Ni.

Koh was abducted on the morning of Feb 13 at Jalan SS4B/10, Petaling Jaya by 15 men in seven vehicles. The kidnapping took under a minute. After weeks with no word or demands, a suspect was arrested on March 9 after contacting Koh’s family asking for ransom.

Koh’s wife Susanna Liew Sow Yoke said that the lack of significant breakthroughs left her and her children swinging between numbness, despair, hope, sadness, fear and anger.

“On the other hand, the immense show of concern and solidarity that we have received from so many people and organisations have bolstered our hopes. We do not feel we are alone, thanks to the outpouring of support from Malaysians, and their prayers at the many peaceful candlelight vigils held in cities across the country,” she said in a press statement yesterday.

Liew said that her husband’s abduction is unprecedented in Malaysia, which has long stood as a global example of multiracial and interfaith harmony, adding this harmony is precious to all and it is the foundation on which the people stand as a nation. 

“For many Malaysians, the abduction of my husband, a man of faith who is known in the community for his charity work, is a blow to that harmony. As such, I urge all our leaders to do their best to address and allay this very real fear.”

It was not just Koh’s family affected by this but many others, even those who do not know him, expressing feelings of concern and a deep sense of outrage at what happened to him. 

“I thank all those leaders who have spoken up. I hope more will step up to send a clear message that Malaysia does not tolerate such acts of criminal violence against anyone, regardless of race, religion, creed or circumstances,” Liew said.

The offer of a reward on Feb 20 still stands. The reward of up to a maximum of RM100,000 will be awarded for information leading to Koh’s safe recovery. 

Article is sourced from Borneo Post dated March 14, 2017. 



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