Suing IGP is one way to keep missing-person cases alive, says former appeals court judge

R. Loheswar
Retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mah Weng Kwai speaks during the Selangor Bar Committee Civil Law Conference in Shah Alam February 14, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SHAH ALAM, Feb 14 — Suing the inspector-general of police (IGP) may not be the best way to get a result but it keeps a controversial issue alive, said retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mah Weng Kwai today.

He had said this in reference to the missing-person cases of Pastor Raymond Koh, Amri Che Mat as well as M. Indira Gandhi’s daughter who was kidnapped by her fugitive former husband.

Koh’s wife Susanna Liew and Indira are both suing IGP Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador for failing to perform his duties.

Indira is seeking RM100 million for failure to track down her daughter Prasana Diksa since 2009, while Liew said she is filing a civil suit for “special and general damages” against former IGP’s Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun and Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar as a last resort after failing to receive any resolution from investigations into her husband’s disappearance.

M. Indira Gandhi is seeking RM100 million for failure to track down her daughter Prasana Diksa since 2009. — Picture by Choo Choy May

This comes four months after a similar suit was filed by Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, the wife of Perlis-based activist Amri Che Mat, who has been missing since December 2016.

“Well, one reason they’re doing it is maybe to keep the issue alive, and at the end of the day, I hope it has some impact on the police to keep investigations alive.

“Putting myself in the shoes of the family, there’s no closure. They don’t know if he is dead or alive,” said Justice Mah when met at Concorde Hotel after he gave a lesson on “What Constitutes Pleadings” to around 200 law practitioners at the Selangor Bar Council’s inaugural Civil Law Conference today.

“From an emotional, psychological and societal reaction, it’s not sufficient. So maybe this is a way to prompt action.

“They are holding the IGP responsible and maybe they want to hold the government responsible. They are going on the principle of ‘vicarious liability’ where the government is ultimately responsible. So perhaps that’s what’s happening.”

Koh and Amri were declared victims of enforced disappearance by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) in April last year. It also said they were abducted by the Special Branch.

Amri’s wife Norhayati is also suing former home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Justice Mah is the current Suhakam commissioner. Among his high-profile decisions were declaring the Peaceful Assembly Act unconstitutional for criminalising freedom of assembly and overturning the open verdict in the inquiry of Teoh Beng Hock’s death in custody.

Justice Mah was appointed as Judicial Commissioner to the Kuala Lumpur High Court on January 4, 2010, confirmed as a judge on August 9, 2011 and elevated to the Court of Appeal on September 21, 2012.

Before serving as a judge, Justice Mah practised as a lawyer for 25 years, and before that, served in the civil service as a prosecutor, magistrate and Sessions judge for 12 years.

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