STATEMENT (on Sunday 19 March 2017) BY SUSANNA LIEW, WIFE OF RAYMOND KOH
Thank you for making time on your precious Sunday night and for your courage to be here with us in solidarity. My family and I are very touched by your presence and the immense support we have received since my husband Raymond Koh was abducted on February 13 less than a mile from here.
My husband has been missing from my life for 35 days now. This is the first time since we got married that I have been this long without his companionship, his advice, his love, his help, his counsel.
Most of all, I miss the calm comfort of his presence and partnership. I lost my mother two days ago, and bade farewell to her this morning at her funeral. This weekend, I feel Raymond’s absence so acutely that it is a struggle to stand here and address you.
Tonight, as I stand here, I can’t help but wonder how he would regard all this support and concern from so many people, from all races and religions. Those who know Raymond personally will tell you that he is very humble and selfless, and this modest approach has always influenced the way he serves others. He has never courted publicity or praise. If he were here right now, Raymond would be talking to you about the need to help those who are poor, vulnerable, marginalised or defenceless.
In 2004, Raymond left his religious ministry as a pastor to instead focus on secular charity work because he felt a deep sense of obligation to the poor. What you may not know is that my husband’s origins are very humble. He came from a large family of modest means. As a child, he lived with his parents and 8 other brothers and sisters in a two-room kampong house in Johore.
These are the roots of Raymond’s belief in an ever-loving God of the meek, the weak and the poor. This is what has motivated him as a man of faith. He didn’t pick or choose whom he helped. He founded Harapan Komuniti as a non-profit undertaking that supported this unconditional stand to not discriminate who should or should not receive assistance and support.
While he is highly principled – sometimes it seems, fearlessly principled – Raymond has always been generous and non-confrontational when it comes to dealing with criticism or attacks from others. His approach has always been for peaceful dialogue and sharing.
My husband’s abduction is unprecedented in our country of many races and religions. Until Raymond was abducted in this shockingly bold and professionally “expert” fashion, we have never seen this kind of criminal violence against a man of faith, known for his charity work.
This is why so many Malaysians have gathered across the nation at candlelight vigils like tonight to peacefully pray for Raymond’s safe recovery and for justice to prevail against all those responsible.
My family and I are grateful for this public show of sympathy and solidarity. Our spirits are bolstered, because we do not feel so alone and abandoned.
Even as we gather in solidarity, let us never forget what brings us together. It is peace, love and hope that bind all of us with Raymond. Those are his core principles and we must never forget that.
Yes, I want to know where my husband is. I want to know if he is alive or not. I want to know who is responsible for this. I want to know why it is so difficult to identify and apprehend those responsible. Yes, we want answers. Yes, we call for justice. Yes, we are frustrated by 35 days of silence.
And yet….despite these challenges and frustrations, let us not succumb to despair and hate. If that happens, then the evil forces behind my husband’s abduction will have won.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
I pray that tonight, this will be our message and what drives us forward in our quest for answers and justice.
May God Bless Malaysia.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Petaling Jaya, Selangor