Raymond Koh - disappeared but not forgotten six years on

Raymond Koh - disappeared but not forgotten six years on
Feb 2023

Raymond Koh - disappeared but not forgotten six years on

Raymond Koh - disappeared but not forgotten six years on
Despite threats and intimidation, Susannah Koh has never given up the search for her husband.(Photo: Open Doors International)

Susanna Koh is weary. For six years she has been battling the Malaysian state and police to find the people responsible for the disappearance of her husband, Pastor Raymond Koh. No one has been held to account and she is no nearer to reaching closure in an abduction case that received worldwide media attention.

It was on 13 February 2017 that Pastor Koh was driving to a friend's house in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. In broad daylight, what appears to be a well-planned and professionally executed operation began to unfold. Three black SUVs were seen driving to a halt, surrounding Koh's car, and forcing him to stop. Several men dressed in black balaclavas, then got out of their vehicles, overpowered him, and bundled him into one of the cars. The vehicles drove off accompanied by two motorbike outriders. Up to 15 men were involved in the abduction and it took just 45 seconds.

Susannah doesn't know who was in those cars, but she believes some powerful and important people know what happened. The silence and time-wasting are taking their toll on Susanna.

"Six years is really a long time and I'm feeling a bit tired of waiting for answers and updates that never arrive."


While the justice system grinds slowly on, and her family are worn down by the process she says she still won't lose faith.

"We believe that God has the best timing, and we will trust him for everything."

Her obvious sadness, amid the hope, is echoed by her eldest daughter, Esther: "The Bible says, 'Hope deferred makes the heart sick.' We miss Raymond and we still hope for the day that he will come back."

Koh's disappearance has left his family devastated and desperately seeking answers. His wife made a report that day, hoping the police would be able to help find her husband. However, she was the one who ended up being interrogated. Questioning centred around her husband's involvement in proselytising Muslims and 'Christianisation', which is illegal in Malaysia. Instead of receiving sympathy, she and her son were bombarded with questions for five hours that night.

Raymond Koh - disappeared but not forgotten six years on
Pastor Raymond Koh has been missing for six years.(Photo: Open Doors International)

Realising the police could not give her answers, she and her children decided to take matters into their own hands. They managed to get hold of CCTV footage which then became a vital piece of evidence in the case. "We went to the residential area next to where the abduction happened and went knocking on doors requesting access to their cameras, and praise God we finally got it."

They took the footage, an eyewitness account and other evidence to SUHAKAM, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia. Despite threats and intimidation, Susannah, her family, and friends held on to God's strength and continued to seek the truth.

In 2019, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia concluded that Pastor Raymond was a victim of enforced disappearance carried out by the police special branch on behalf of the state. This was a ground-breaking announcement. It led to the government setting up a special task force to look into the matter. It should have taken six months. Yet, over three years later, there is still no published report.

The case is ongoing in the High Court. A December hearing was postponed until June this year for several reasons. The attorney general's lawyers still haven't read Susannah's witness statement which runs to 120 pages so were unable to cross-examine her last year. The family are seeking a copy of the special task force report that is long overdue, and the attorney general's chambers filed a bundle of documents which the Koh lawyers need to examine.

Although it is hard, Susanna still carries on living her daily life while seeking answers. She started her own business making jewellery and involves herself in different community projects. Recently, she has been helping a group of Yemeni women living in Malaysia, by selling their handmade products such as handbags, floor mats, clothes, and hats. Her daughter, Esther, is pursuing a degree in psychology and hopes to be a trauma counsellor. Her other daughter, Elizabeth, has settled in the United States, while her son, Jonathan, is also involved in charity work.

"We will always try our best to keep his memory alive, and make sure people don't forget what happened," said Susanna.

Local partners in Malaysia continue to give the Koh family the support they need. Throughout the years, they have been helping them to spread awareness and reminding the public that this has happened in a country like Malaysia where freedom of religion is part of their constitution. Susanna and her family continue to display God's strength and have become the face of courage and the beacon of hope within the Christian community in Malaysia and around the world.

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