More NGOs question task force make-up on enforced disappearances of Pastor Koh, Amri

Proham chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari called for a revision of the task force members as they must be impartial when it comes to investigating the police itself. — Picture by Siow Saw Feng
Proham chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari called for a revision of the task force members as they must be impartial when it comes to investigating the police itself. — Picture by Siow Saw Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — Discontent within civil society groups appear to be growing with the government’s choice members for a special task force set up on the enforced disappearances Perlis-based social activist Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh.

Human rights group Proham and a group of former servicemen Patriot, are the latest to chorus the potential conflict of interest over the appointments of half of the six task force appointees.

“We echo the sentiments expressed by Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) and the family members of Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh in respect of the indisputable conflict of interest faced by three out of six of the members of the task force namely Datuk Abd Rahim Uda, Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Noor and Datuk Zamri Yahya,” Proham chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari said in a statement today.

“Another gross failing in the choice of members is the absence of any unbiased, professional, reputable investigator with firsthand practical knowledge of the workings PDRM,” he added.

He called for a revision of the task force members as they must be impartial when it comes to investigating the police itself.

Khutubul wants the task force to include those who are able and independent to carry out a thorough investigation of the disappearances as well as one or more members of civil society to ensure transparency and independence.

Proham did not detail its dissatisfaction with the choice of the three men.

But the key concern commonly expressed by the other NGOs have been the inclusion of Mokhtar, the former head of the police legal department — the same division that was implicated in the flawed investigation into Che Amri’s abduction — and who had later acted for the force at the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia that concluded the men in blue had played a role in the disappearances of both activists..

Abd Rahim who leads the task force was formerly a High Court judge while Zamri is director of the Police Integrity and Standard Compliance Department.

The other task force members are Datuk Muhammad Bukhari Ab. Hamid, director of operations for the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission; and Mohd Russaini Idrus, division secretary for the Police Commission.

Patriot also voiced disappointment with the government’s task force members while questioning the procrastination and the lack of will from the authorities to bring closure to the episode.

“The composition of the Special Task Force members does not inspire confidence of the people,” said its president retired Brigadier-General Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji in a statement.

Both groups pointed out that Muhyiddin did not mention any terms of reference for the task force with Mohamed Arshad sarcastically asking if the role of the special task force is to initiate another round of enquiry.

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