SB's role in Pastor Koh's disappearance merely hearsay — Dr Mahathir

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 3): The Malaysian Human Rights Commission's (Suhakam) statement on the alleged involvement of the Special Branch from Bukit Aman in the disappearance of pastor Raymond Koh is merely hearsay, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said Suhakam must produce some evidence to prove its claim.

"I think they must produce some evidence. This is merely hearsay, I don't know whether they have evidence to prove that this was what happened," he said.

Dr Mahathir told reporters this after chairing the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Supreme Leadership Council meeting here today. He is Bersatu chairman.

Suhakam was reported to have concluded that the cases involving Koh and activist Amri Che Mat were ones of enforced disappearances with the likely involvement of state agents such as the police’s Special Branch.

Suhakam Commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai said its findings were based on the commission’s inquiry into the disappearances.

Dr Mahathir also pointed out that the matter happened when the previous Government was at the helm.

Koh was abducted in 2017 while Amri disappeared in 2016.

"This happened during the previous Goverment and a lot of things done under the previous Goverment are hidden from us, hidden from the public," he said.

Asked on Suhakam's recommendation for the formation of a special task force to re-investigate the issue, the Prime Minister underscored that Suhakam needed to show clear evidence.

"If they have clear evidence (then) we will have special task force to investigate," he said.

Queried on Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun, who was the Special Branch chief in 2017, Dr Mahathir said: "He (Mohamad Fuzi) was then the Special Branch officer (head) but he is going to retire soon. We will let him retire first and then we will have another IGP who will conduct an investigation."

On fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho's criticism of the government in handling the sale of superyacht Equanimity,  Dr Mahathir asked him to come back to Malaysia.

"He can come here and make the allegation and I will go to court to defend my decision," he said.

The Equanimity is to be sold to Genting Malaysia Bhd for US$126 million.

Also on the Equanimity, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin had earlier told reporters at the Parliament lobby that despite having been sold, it could still be tendered as evidence in trials involving the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

He said subpoenas could still be issued to obtain all documents needed as evidence from the new owner.