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KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) heard during its inquiry into the disappearance of activists Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Hilmy today that a former minister had reached out to him advising him to flee the country.
According to the Malaysiakini, fifth witness Selvakumar Peace John Harris related that then youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin had emailed the pastor, with his urging believed to be related to Joshua’s baptising a Malay couple in January 2015.
“He sent an email to Joshua and urged him to leave the country. [Joshua] called me and told me about it,” he reportedly told the inquiry, referring to Khairy.
Selvakumar, who was the owner of Joshua and Ruth’s residence in Selangor, said he was shown a copy of the email in Penang when the pastor visited him there in May 2016.
He also claimed that Joshua and Khairy had exchanged several emails.
When Suhakam commissioner Datuk Hishamuddin Yunus asked Selvakumar whether he was referring to the former minister, the witness concurred.
When asked for Joshua’s response after receiving the email, Selvakumar said Joshua felt unsafe and wanted to heed the urging.
The witness also testified that he saw Joshua baptising a Malay couple, in addition to 10 other Malay couples — a claim that led to Hishamuddin asking him whether he was sure they were Muslims. Selvakumar concurred.
Selvakumar’s testimony continues tomorrow.
Joshua, who was believed to be a Malay-Muslim who converted to Christianity, and Ruth, were last seen on November 30, 2016 and subsequently reported missing on March 6 the following year.
Previously, Suhakam also conducted an inquiry into the abductions of two other activists — Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat — and concluded that they were the victims of “enforced disappearance”.
Suhakam concluded in its inquiry then that the police’s Special Branch was involved, based on witness testimony as well as footage of Koh’s abduction that was caught by a nearby surveillance camera.