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KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Malaysia’s non-Muslim interfaith group has raised concern for religious ties in the country following the public abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said it is deeply concerned that Koh remains missing more than two weeks after a group of masked men snatched him from his car on a public road in Petaling Jaya.

“The news of Koh’s abduction have fanned fears across all religious divides in Malaysian society, as it is unprecedented for a man of faith to be abducted in this way in our peaceful multicultural country.

“Many of our members regard this abduction as a worrying escalation of violence against people of faith in Malaysia, which may have negative repercussions on the interfaith goodwill and harmony that our country enjoys and is rightfully proud of,” it said in a statement released today.

The police have up a special task force to search for the pastor, reflecting the seriousness of the case, but have no leads as yet.

“MCCBCHST calls on all Malaysians of all faiths to pray for the safe recovery/return of Pastor Raymond Koh, and for the success of the police task force in their endeavours to swiftly bring to justice the perpetrators of this horrific crime,” it added.

The statement dated yesterday bore the signatures of MCCBCHST’s president Datuk Seri Jit Heng, deputy president Datuk R. S. Mohan Shan, vice-presidents Bishop Sebastian Francis, Sardar Jagir Singh, Tan Hoe Chieow and its honourary secretary-general Prematilaka Serisana.

Separately, news portal Malaysiakini reported Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar saying today he will ask the Selangor police to provide Koh’s family with updates on the case.

However, he also reportedly said the police would have to be careful in the release of information to the public as Koh’s location is yet to be known since his February 13 abduction.

“In cases like this, we have to tread carefully because we do not want to put the victim in harm’s way. This is standard operating procedure for such matters,” Khalid was quoted saying.

According to Malaysiakini, Khalid’s comments are in response to a note from lawyer Philip Koh who is representing abducted pastor’s family.

The lawyer was cited as saying that the family had on February 28 sent a written request for a meeting to the police officer heading the task force for Koh’s case, as the family claimed to have received no update despite having filed two police reports over the abduction.

Koh’s wife had previously said her husband, who founded a group called Harapan Komuniti that was started over 10 years ago and works with marginalised communities, had no known enemies.

The family is offering a reward of RM100,000 to anyone with information of his whereabouts.

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