In a heart-wrenching statement delivered to supporters at a candlelight vigil yesterday, the wife of abducted Pastor Raymond Koh, Susanna Liew, revealed the humble beginnings of her husband and thanked the public for their continuous support. (Pix by Fernando Fred)

KUALA LUMPUR: In a heart-wrenching statement delivered to supporters at a candlelight vigil yesterday, the wife of abducted Pastor Raymond Koh, Susanna Liew, revealed the humble beginnings of her husband and thanked the public for their continuous support.

She said the public’s show of sympathy and solidarity has made the family strong as they do not feel alone and abandoned.

“In 2004, Raymond left his religious ministry as a pastor to 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 eight other brothers and sisters in a two-room kampong house in Johor.

“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,” she said.

Liew said her husband has never picked or chosen who he would help, and that is the foundation of Harapan Komuniti – a non-profit organisation which continues his stand of not discriminating against anyone in terms of extending assistance and support.

“While he is highly principled, sometimes, it seems, fearlessly principled, he 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,” she said.

Liew added that Koh’s abduction was unprecedented in Malaysia; a 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 (yesterday), to peacefully pray for Raymond’s safe recovery and for justice to prevail against all those responsible,” she said.

Liew said the absence of her husband has been greatly felt, especially at this time, since she lost her mother three days ago.

“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 (three) days ago, and bade farewell to her this morning at her funeral. (On the) weekend, I felt Raymond’s absence so acutely that it is a struggle to stand here and address you,” she said.

Liew urged the public not to succumb to despair and hate, as the main elements which have brought all of them together are peace, love and hope.

“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, how different are we from those evil abductors who kidnapped my husband?

“I pray that tonight, this will be our message and what drives us forward in our quest for answers and justice,” said Liew.

812 reads