Monday, August 30, 2021

Final "Extraordinary Rendition" of Raymond Koh, Ruth Sipetu & Joshua Hilmy

Pain of not knowing killing us, say families of missing trio

Nothing official has been heard about Pastor Raymond Koh, missing since early 2017, and Ruth Sitepu and her husband Joshua Hilmy, who disappeared several months earlier.

PETALING JAYA: When Susanna Liew’s husband left their house that fateful Monday in 2017, she did not know it would be the last time she would see him.

Liew recalled that she was supposed to take some food supplies to a friend that day but had been too busy in the morning to do so, at which point her husband offered to help.

“He always said ‘I love you’ before he went out the door; he always said ‘I love you’ to me or my children, so those were his last words.

“I have not seen or heard from him since.”

Her husband is Raymond Koh, a pastor who was abducted in early 2017 under suspicious circumstances. In 2019, Suhakam (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) concluded after a public hearing that he was the victim of “enforced disappearance” at the hands of the Special Branch, amid accusations he was attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Liew said she was thrust into a state of panic and shock when he did not return home, made all the worse when she went to the police station to report his disappearance only to be subjected to an interrogation herself.

“It has been a very difficult and challenging four-and-a half years now for our family because of the uncertainty. We have practically no news and no updates from the police or the government on the status of the investigation,” she said.

For the family of Ruth Sitepu and her husband Joshua Hilmy, who disappeared in late 2016, it is much the same story.

“We got the news from my elder brother’s son in Malaysia, Harry Sitepu,” Ruth’s brother Iman explained from his home in Jakarta.

“He was really close to Ruth and Joshua, and he told us the news that he had lost contact with Ruth and that the house was empty. We waited for months thinking maybe they had moved somewhere, to a different country maybe, but Harry was really certain they had gone missing. As time went by, we got more suspicious of their disappearance.”

It was only when they saw videos online detailing Koh’s disappearance that they began to suspect their sister had met a similar fate, although official investigations were ongoing. As in the case of Koh, there were claims the pair might have been involved in converting Muslims.

“As a family, we’re very, very sad. Until now, it isn’t clear where she is. We are also disappointed with the government here in Indonesia,” he said, claiming that it had not given his sister’s disappearance sufficient attention.

Iman and the family believe Ruth and Joshua are still alive, because “we as a family still feel that connection with her, we don’t have that feeling inside that she is dead”.

Liew shares the same hope for her husband Koh, and it is her “hope and dream” that they will one day be reunited.

“My family and I and our friends, some of us have had dreams that he is still alive and as long as we do not see his body we will believe that he is not dead, and I will continue my efforts to speak out and do all I can to get him and the others released.

“Wherever Pastor Raymond is, God is with him, whether he is alive or whether he is martyred, he is a hero to us because he believed in his convictions and he lived it out.”


  1. This is the outcome when religion becomes a major factor in governing a country.

    More so when the religion is Islam particularly where an inferiority complex exists. How else to explain the law that says Muslims can propagate to non Muslims but not vice versa. And a religion, devoid of any rational reasoning claims ownership of certain words particularly Allah that is laughed at in other countries even Muslim ones.

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