Who ordered the ‘disappearance’ of Pastor Koh? - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Malaysiakini : “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” - Verbal Kint, ‘The Usual Suspects’
COMMENT | First off, bravo Nathaniel Tan for clearly articulating issues on the minds of many. Nathaniel’s piece
– ‘The importance of due process and dignified governance’ - is an
important reminder that the opposition is governing the country now, and
should not be in the business of radicalising their base.
When Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng babbles on how he would carry on his “truthful”
approach regardless of how it affects the ebb and flow of the market,
it is exactly the kind of arrogance that is not needed in this new
government. No politician speaks the “truth”. An honest politician is
factual (an extremely rare breed), and a good leader does not have to
embellish facts while inspiring confidence.
The marketplace is inspired when the government is factual about how
they are going to solve the problem and not when the government uses any
opportunity to confirm how bad the situation is because of the former
regime. Guan Eng is not speaking to his base. Now he is speaking to
anyone who has a stake in this country. Learning things the hard way
when it involves the economy which affects everyone is not a good way to
go, no matter how well it plays with your base.
The wheels of government continue spinning and it would behove us to
remember there are issues which need to be addressed other the 1MDB
issue, which is already taken care of by numerous divisions of the
government. Government and reforming the institutions is not a
single-issue project. With this in mind, will we ever discover what happened to Pastor Koh
and all the others who mysteriously disappeared? If ever there was a
time to seek clarification on this issue, it is now.
Citizens of this country were kidnapped in a paramilitary style and
all circumstantial evidence points to the connivance of the state. At
this point, I am less interested in why Pastor Koh was kidnapped but who
ordered the kidnapping. I get that the inspector-general of police
(IGP) has vowed to look into this issue, but it really does not inspire
People tend to look to politicians to solve our problems especially
here in Malaysia, but it really is not like that in many functional
democracies. Independent credible institutions are what people believe
in because politicians have other agendas. The "vanishings" of Pastor
Koh, Amri Che Mat, Joshua Hilmy and his wife, Ruth Sitepu, are troubling
because circumstantial evidence points to state actors, who may have
been working without the knowledge of the Umno state.
While the former Umno state may be complicit in covering these
crimes, what we have been witness to so far is that because the country
was run by an incompetent kleptocrat, there have been factions within
the government who may have been operating without supervision. This is
what happens when the machinery of government is used to cover up the
alleged crimes of their political masters and nobody is interested in
minding the house.
In May this year, “the wife of the missing activist Amri Che Mat,
Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, has urged police to investigate a claim that her
husband was abducted by a Special Branch (SB) team from Bukit Aman on
Nov 24, 2016.” While Bukit Aman predictably said they would look into
it, the important question still remains. At this point, the why is not as important as who ordered the disappearance of Pastor Koh and the other activists.
Who had the power (if this allegation is true) to order a tactical
squad to kidnap Malaysians for whatever reasons? Who had the authority
to issue such commands and who felt secure enough that their crime would
go unsanctioned by the former Umno state? Who had the political
influence to concoct such a manoeuvre which bypasses the traditional
state security apparatus and mete out whatever fate that befell these
Whoever these people are they were confident that the narratives of
the state security apparatus would shield them from whatever
repercussions of the former Umno state and, here is the important part,
may very well shield them from the sanctions of the Pakatan Harapan
At this point, their motives may be implied but what is really
important is that their identities are shielded from the public. If you
believe that an Uber driver acted on his own in the Pastor Koh
kidnapping, then it is the end of the story. However, let us forget
about the who ordered these kidnappings for a moment. Why would anyone
want to shield the masterminds of these crimes? I can think of three
1. The magnitude of this conspiracy, if true, could threaten national
security. This is especially true if it involves non-mainstream
ideological imperatives. I doubt the former regime, or the current one,
would want to be in a position to explain to the rakyat that there are
elements within the government who had the means to carry out
unsanctioned operations against citizens based on agendas that have
nothing to do with local sensibilities.
2. The security apparatus wants to cover its own behind. How does it
look that the state security apparatus was so compromised, so willing to
do the dirty work of their political masters like spying on citizens
and the former opposition that they did not realise that they were
elements within their ranks who had the motive and the means to carry
out unsanctioned operations?
(Remember Ku Li knows the game is rigged
- “(Bagaimanapun) jangan memandang rendah kepada kerajaan kerana mereka
ada kuasa, ada televisyen, radio, duit dan media. Mereka juga ada
alat-alat risikan dan sebagainya. Media dia lebih tahu pada kita. Dia
tahu kita belum tahu lagi. Sama ada dengan kekuasaan itu, parti yang
berkuasa akan kalah saya tidak tahu.”)
3. This, of course, is the most insidious. There are true believers
in the state security apparatus who for whatever reasons, believe that
protecting those involved is part of their obligations. Understand now,
that I am merely spitballing here. I do this because the evidence points
to a certain direction and when a compromised state security apparatus
tell me they are looking into it, it merely means that they are hoping
our attentions are focused someplace else.
For those of us who do not believe that there are Uber drivers out
there kidnapping Malaysians, the only other possibility is that there
are elements in the state who sanctioned such operations.
Who knows, they could even be mingling in the corridors of Harapan power.