What powers will the new task force investigating Pastor Koh and Amri's disappearances have? Group asks

Visvanathan said there no legal basis to set up the task force to investigate Koh and Amri's disappearances. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Visvanathan said there no legal basis to set up the task force to investigate Koh and Amri's disappearances. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — Non-governmental organisation Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (EDICT) today reiterated their objection against the task force set up to investigate the disappearances of pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat.

Its chairman M. Visvanathan said that not only was there no legal basis to set up the task force to investigate Suhakam’s decision, but also questioned what power it had to compel its witnesses to attend its inquiries, among other things.

“Will witnesses be made to give a sworn testimony like in court or in a Suhakam inquiry? Will there be legal consequences for those who do not give their testimonies at these inquiries? Is there any legal recourse that can be taken if a party is caught lying during their testimony?

“Will the decisions made by the task force have any force of law? What are the costs of setting the task force up? What is the salary or pay given to the members?” he asked in a statement here today.

Visvanathan said that the action was akin to having no confidence in Suhakam’s findings and does not show any sincerity and seriousness of the government to solve the disappearances.

“Once again we are saying that the government, under the Home Ministry should start the investigations from within the police and find those involved in the case instead of starting the investigation all over again.

“A task force should be set up at the Attorney General’s department to save on public funds and avoid crossing any laws,” he said.

Recently, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a six-man task force to be led by Former High Court judge Datuk Abd Rahim Uda to investigate the enforced disappearances of Koh and Amrit.

Other members are Datuk Zamri Yahya, who is Bukit Aman's Integrity and Standard Compliance department director; Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (SIAP) operations director Datuk Bukhari Ab Hamid; Mohd Sophian Zakaria of the Attorney General's Chambers; and Mohd Russaini Idrus, who is the under-secretary for the Police Commission.

The former head of the police legal department Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Noor has since left the task force.

Earlier today, Muhyiddin announced two new members in Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) assistant commissioner Azian Umar and senior lawyer Datuk Roger Tan, after taking into consideration public opinion that the task force was imbalanced.

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