Witney, England (ANS) – On 13 February 2017, Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted in broad daylight by secret state police in Malaysia. Four years on, after fighting tirelessly for answers, his wife, Susanna, and her family are no closer to finding out where he is – but she is not ready to give up yet. In an interview with Open Doors she talks about how prayers and support have sustained her.
In April 2019, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) concluded that Raymond Koh was a victim of enforced disappearance by the state, namely the Special Branch of the Malaysian Police Department. The government then formed a special task force to establish Raymond Koh’s whereabouts. The task force was scheduled to publish a report with the findings of its investigations within six months but, in January 2020, the government said that the task force needed more time to complete the report. They have yet to publish this report.
Susanna Koh, Pastor Raymond’s wife has been actively campaigning to find him since he disappeared. Although the case has gained a lot of international attention, the family still don’t have firm answers about what happened to Raymond or where he is now. They also still don’t know why he was taken.
It’s been four years since Pastor Raymond Koh from Malaysia was inexplicably abducted, leaving Susanna and her family still searching for answers.
Who is Pastor Raymond?
One possible reason for his abduction is his compassionate work among the poor and marginalised people groups in Malaysia.
With Susanna, Raymond started a charity, Harapan Komuniti (Hope Community), that works with the underprivileged from all communities, including those with HIV/AIDS, recovering drug addicts, single mothers and their children, and homeless people.
Esther, Raymond and Susanna’s daughter, remembers her father once advised her to ‘waste time with people’. “He said it’s important… what he means is just spending time with people, getting to know people, because to him, people are the number one priority.”
Sri Ram, a close friend of Raymond’s, says, “Having come from a poor family background, Raymond understood the needs of the poor and the neglected. Anything that he could imagine doing for the marginalised communities, Raymond would take it on.”
Pastor Raymond even received death threats and hate mail for the work he was doing, but he refused to respond in anger.
Moving forward without Raymond
It has been very hard for the family to adjust to life without Pastor Raymond. “It has been particularly difficult when it comes to birthdays, anniversaries and festive seasons, because we miss him,” says Susanna. “That’s the time when the family gathers, so it’s really been a struggle.”
Esther says, “These past four years have been like a mountain, like a huge mountain that is in front of me, that I’m not able to move. Maybe because of the police and how they have conducted the investigation.”
Susanna and her family still face a lot of challenges, intimidation and harassment from the police. “They have been calling me and my son for questioning in the police station. It is only by God’s grace that we were able to answer and even stand up for our rights,” she says.
Carrying on without Pastor Raymond has been difficult – but Susanna and her family testify to the power of your prayers at work in their lives.
We recently met with Susanna online, where she expressed her thanks for your prayerful concern. “The Christian community has been a great encouragement to me,” she says. “[Your prayers have] been so encouraging to me, you know, they really touched my heart and I’m so grateful and thankful for the worldwide Christian community.”
She also talked about the hope and strength she has found in the Bible – in particular, Isaiah 43:1-3: “If you go through the flood, go through the river, you go through the fire, He will be with [you]. It’s very assuring; God’s Word does strengthen us, and it plants that faith in our hearts.”
What next for the Koh family?
In February 2020, Susanna Koh announced that she has filed a lawsuit against the police and Malaysian government over Raymond’s abduction. The Koh family won’t stop until they find answers, and ultimately, find Raymond. “Please pray with us for justice to be done as this matter is now in the hands of the judiciary,” says Susanna.